On Wednesday, a Kentucky Grand Jury handed down the ruling in the case of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman fatally shot in her own home by Louisville police officers. Taylor’s killing, along with the death of George Floyd, was a cornerstone rallying call in the Black Lives Matter protests that proliferated around the world this summer. And six months after former officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove executed what Taylor’s family has described as a botched raid on Taylor and boyfriend Kenneth Walker’s home, only one of the officers were indicted.
The only indictment, made against Hankison, pertained to his recklessly firing into a neighboring apartment. The decision brought renewed anger, frustration, and sadness, from those who believed justice should be served to Taylor and her family, with stronger convictions coming down upon the officers involved. In response, thousands of protestors flooded the streets Wednesday night and into Thursday in cities all over the country.
Don’t miss the coverage from Courier Journal, a Louisville, Kentucky local paper reporting from the ground in Taylor’s hometown. “Today’s decision was an additional injustice on our family and this country,” Taylor’s cousin Tawanna Gordon told Courier Journal reporters moments after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the ruling. “Until Americans start getting mad enough and speaking out and forcing legislators to change the laws for all races, nothing is going to change.”
Another article from the Courier Journal—this time, a gallery with photographs from Wednesday night’s protests from the city. Pictures capturing police brutality, raw emotion, and various birds’ eye views of the streets will certainly go down in photojournalism history.
This Wall Street Journal article echoes the sentiments of many activists who have made similar statements on Twitter in the past 24 hours. “Out of the 121 charged in deadly shootings since 2005, 44 were convicted of some crime, and 26 are pending, according to Dr. Stinson,” reporter Zusha Elinson writes. “That is lower than the 70% conviction rate in cases in which Americans who aren’t police officers are charged with murder, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.”
The dispatch from Downtown Los Angeles, where the L.A. Times’ Matthew Ormseth and Kevin Rector write, “Marching down First Street, the crowd passed people dining outside restaurants, some of whom raised their fists in support; their facial expressions turned when the marchers began chanting, ‘While you dining, people dying.’ Residents peering out of upper story windows were greeted with a different line: ‘I can’t get no justice, you can’t get no sleep.’”
While not a new article published in the wake of the Breonna Taylor decision, social justice publication The Marshall Project’s deep dive into how Kentucky’s legal standards complicate any case against police officers gives context for Wednesday’s decision. “If a jury found the officers’ conduct was wanton, directly causing the death of an innocent person, ‘then that is murder under Kentucky law, and self-defense would not be a viable defense,’” the writer Jamiles Lartey reported Colin Miller, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law studying Kentucky’s criminal code on behalf of lawyers representing Taylor’s family, as saying in early September.
Consider donating to Breonna Taylor’s Official GoFundMe, run by her family.
Sign the Breonna Was Essential petition.
How to donate directly to Black Lives Matter in Louisville:
Food for Thought:
Back in the day, W started off the morning with a quick round-up of links to that day’s fashion- and culture-related news. Times have changed; in the months since a white police officer named Derek Chauvin killed an unarmed black man named George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country, which seems to be devolving more into a police state by the day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay up to date, which is why we’re reviving “Chic in Review” as the slightly more radical “Read & Resist.”