When Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) announced at the conclusion of a grand jury’s deliberation this week that only one officer would be charged in the botched raid on Breonna Taylor’s home … and only for three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots into a neighboring apartment ... and that no charges would be brought in the death of Breonna herself, we were shocked all over again. Though, by now, we shouldn’t be.
In this case, it applied only to the shots fired into the apartment of Breonna’s White neighbor. No charges were brought for the shots fired into the residence of her Black neighbor. I’m sure we shouldn’t read too much into that — more devil in the details.
And outrageously, no charges were brought for the rain of gunfire that ended Breonna’s life.
Never mind that police were at Breonna’s door in the first place because they obtained a flawed warrant. Never mind that officers broke down her door in the middle of the night, waking her from a sound sleep alongside her boyfriend; and never mind 15 witnesses who said they didn’t hear police announce themselves. Never mind that officers fired more than 30 gunshots, many of which were aimed at Breonna while she was on the ground, with others fired blindly into every room of her home and into neighbors’ homes.
Never mind that the Louisville Metro Police Department orchestrated a clear and documented coverup, and reportedly offered a plea deal to Breonna’s former boyfriend — the real target of the raid — if he claimed that Breonna was involved in a drug ring. In a moment of exquisite irony, the drug dealer had the honor to refuse to discredit Breonna’s memory by lying about her character and involvement.
All this led to the death of an unarmed Black woman, a heroic first responder, who posed no threat and who was living her best life.
As The Post itself reported, nearly 250 women have been fatally shot — 48 of them Black — by police since 2015. Eighty-nine of the women were killed at homes or residences where they sometimes stayed, and 12 killed in their own homes by police who were there to conduct a search or make an arrest.
We don’t know most of their names. We wouldn’t know Breonna’s name if her death hadn’t happened in a season of police killings when America was getting quickly woke to it.
But now that the world knows Bre’s name, we won’t stop saying it until it becomes a kind of incantation to bind the devil in our divided justice system.
Even as the criminal justice system failed Black people yet again, the civil justice system brought an unprecedented outcome — a financial settlement of historic proportions and a raft of police reforms that could serve as a jumping-off point for police departments around the nation. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) exerted a kind of leadership that only puts the state attorney general’s pathetic apologism in even more stark relief.
Civil justice is important. Police reform is necessary. But exorcising the devil in our criminal justice system is essential to our survival as a republic. No justice, no peace. Until Black people are afforded the same rights as White people, until their lives are valued at the same level, until we stop seeing Black people as fundamentally dangerous and criminal, until we stop excusing police maltreatment of Black citizens and until we stop wielding the war on drugs to wage war on Black people, there will be no justice. And until we afford Black people the basic rights promised by our founders — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and end the rampage of the devil of racism, we will know no peace.