The way prosecutors have handled Breonna Taylor’s death deserves a top spot on the list of rage-inducers. None of the police officers are facing charges for killing her. Sure, one officer was indicted for firing his gun into a neighboring home, damaging some walls. But isn’t that more insulting? The fact that our use-of-force laws make it easier to punish cops for property damage than for murder is one of this country’s biggest failures. As my colleague Nathalie Baptiste so sharply put it, “It seems as if due process and the presumption of innocence can be flexible concepts, deployed for the convenience of law enforcement. For others, especially Black people, that right is often stripped away.”
Let’s also talk about how shady the lead prosecutor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, has been on this case. In a press briefing, he insisted that officers knocked and announced themselves before barging into Taylor’s home in the middle of the night. But he failed to mention that about a dozen witnesses said they didn’t hear knocking or an announcement. Only one witness claimed to hear the police announce themselves—and that witness initially told investigators he hadn’t heard anything.
What’s more galling, though, is what we’re still learning about how Cameron conducted himself. He says he presented all the evidence to the grand jury that decided whether to indict the officers. But in late October, an anonymous juror released a startling statement alleging that Cameron never gave them the option to pursue murder charges. “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them,” the juror wrote. “The grand jury never heard anything about those laws.” Cameron says he presented all the facts, but it seems like the police’s side of the story was the side he cared about most. That’s not justice, and certainly not the kind of justice Breonna Taylor deserved. —Samantha Michaels