Still No Justice for Breonna Taylor

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Via Getty Images

Sierra Weaver, Editor-in-Chief

Almost eight months after her death, there has still been no justice for Breonna Taylor. 

To recap the events of March 13th: three police officers, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove arrived at Breonna Taylor’s apartment after obtaining a “no-knock” search warrant. This warrant was obtained as a result of the Louisville Police Department’s investigation into Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover who had been suspected of selling illegal drugs. At the time of her death, Breonna Taylor was in a relationship with Kenneth Walker. 

Kenneth Walker and Breonna Taylor were asleep at Taylor’s apartment when the police arrived shortly after midnight. While LMPD states that they “knocked on the door several times and announced their presence as police,” this is heavily contested by Kenneth Walker and others. Walker and Taylor were woken up by banging at their door, and were, at first, concerned that the knocking was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Both members of the couple called out to ask who was at the door, but, after no response and the door being broken down, Kenneth Walker fired his gun once. This shot hit Johnathan Mattingly in the thigh. Following this, the officers fired several shots, with Brett Hankinson “firing ten rounds blindly into the apartment.” Breonna Taylor was shot five times, and died shortly after the event. 

For months, none of the officers faced any charges or disciplines for their killing of Taylor. In June, Brett Hankinson was fired from his position at the LMPD, and in September he was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment. It has been reported that these charges are not in relation to the death of Breonna Taylor, but rather to the fact that he fired ten rounds blindly into the apartment. Both Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove remain employed by the LMPD, and are not being charged, despite the investigation finding that Cosgrove fired the shots that killed Taylor. The Kentucky Attorney General stated the men were “justified to protect themselves and the justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges.

In late October, Jonathan Mattingly filed a lawsuit against Kenneth Walker with the claim that he had committed battery and assault, as well as caused emotional distress. The suit argues that Walker “willingly or malicious” fired at the officer. 

At the time of her death, Breonna Taylor had been working full-time as an ER technician. Before this, she worked as an EMT. She was 26-years-old with plans for the future, including buying a house and becoming more serious with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. 

She had absolutely no criminal record, yet was shot and killed by the police in her own home. For months, her name was chanted at protests for the Black Lives Matter Movement as people petitioned for her to receive justice. Now, her story has died down in coverage for mainstream media, regardless of the fact that no officers were ever charged for her death. The idea that the police are able to shoot a completely innocent woman and not be held accountable is a scary reality, which shows the injustice taking place in the American criminal justice system every day.

Were the police officers' actions in Breonna Taylor's case justified on the grounds of self defense?

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