On Wednesday, a grand jury chose not to charge the officers involved in the raid for the shooting death of Louisville resident Breonna Taylor, instead indicting one officer on three counts of “wanton endangerment in the first degree” for firing his service weapon “blindly through a door and window in Taylor’s building.” In response, Ohio State Prez Dr. Kristina M. Johnson posted a video statement on Twitter denouncing the decision. “This does not feel like justice,” wrote Johnson, citing a “breakdown in the justice system.” She added, “This isn’t going to stop until we create an anti-racist world.”
“Breonna Taylor deserves justice. This does not feel like justice,” said Johnson. “We cannot accept what has happened in Louisville. We grieve the tragic and senseless loss of Breonna Taylor, a daughter, a friend, a niece, a loved one who was unarmed and asleep. The breakdown in the justice system and the killings of unarmed black and brown people in our country has become all too familiar tragically. This isn’t going to stop until we create an anti-racist world. We must come together to draw strength from each other and advance our collective vision for a better world where we’ll one day have justice for all. There is much work to be done.”
This isn’t going to stop until we create an anti-racist world. pic.twitter.com/TkRSyW60he
— Kristina M. Johnson (@PresKMJohnson) September 23, 2020
Aubrey Williams, former Louisville NAACP president and famed criminal defense lawyer who had served as former President Jimmy Carter’s lawyer, disagrees. In an appearance on Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle,” Williams said that murder charges against the officers would have been unwarranted.
“I was asked in the very beginning and I said on the front page of The Courier-Journal that number one: the no-knock warrant and the action of the officers were not illegal. They were consistent with the law,” Williams said. “We have to understand, I said to the public, that the officers were acting under the Fourth Amendment; which says that no warrant should issue, less by probable cause. They stated probable cause to a judge who signed the warrant because she trusted the good faith, the explanation of the police officers. They then did what they were directed to do. They had no alternative. If they had not gone to the house to serve the warrant, they would not have been doing their job; as a matter of fact they could have possibly lost their jobs.”
“It is unfortunate that this young lady was killed. But for the life of me I don’t see them indicting or convicting,” Williams told the Courier-Journal, which noted that he had “spent much of his 40-year career fighting police in court,” in late July. “… But just because we have had these brutal things that have happened to our people down through the ages doesn’t mean these cops should be charged.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said after the verdict, “Evidence showed officers knocked and announced their presence at the apartment … Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired on by Kenneth Walker.”
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