Who should be punished for Breonna Taylor’s Death?


On the evening of March 13, four police officers approached the Louisville apartment of Kenneth Walker and his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor. The officers had a “no-knock” warrant for the apartment; they suspected Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, might have hid drugs in her apartment.
The police arrived at the door. While they broke it down, Walker fired a gun at the officers. They fire back at Walker, striking and killing Taylor in the process.
Following her death, protests have been sparked across the country for her justice. The hashtag “Say Her Name” has been trending everywhere on social media (over 633,000 public posts on Instagram). The hashtag is used to advocate for the arrest of the cops for Taylor’s murder. I think neither the cops nor Walker were in the wrong, and should not be punished, but rather the people above them who made a mistake in issuing the warrant.
“I didn’t have a clue. That’s why I grabbed the gun. Breonna and I had both asked who it was at the door and there was no answer, so I grabbed the gun,” said Walker in a CBS interview with Gayle King. Walker believes it was reasonable for him to assume there was an intruder, and any person would have reacted the same way that he did.
However, the police say they yelled their presence before entering the apartment, and as a result, Walker was informed of their presence. There are conflicting accounts from neighbors regarding the manner in which police entered.
Many people are divided on whether or not the officers should have been charged with the death of Taylor, and I do not think they should be charged.
On one hand, I believe the officers should not be charged because they had the rights to a no-knock warrant, and therefore aren’t legally permitted to announce their presence when entering. Therefore, when they burst in and shots were fired, they decided to fire back. It was really only a part of their job.
On the other hand, the judge shouldn’t have given them a no-knock warrant for something so small in the first place. If he was very willing to give a no-knock, then he should have made it for the place where Taylor’s ex-boyfriend was staying, not where he used to stay with his girlfriend.
If we take into account that the officers did not announce their presence, then that is a fault on their parts and they should be punished for it. Federal law says if a warrant is issued for the search of a house, then officers must announce some sort of presence to inform the defendant police are on the scene. Multiple conflicting stories about whether or not their presence was announced means there is almost no way of knowing for sure.
Therefore, if anybody is to be charged with the death of Taylor, it should be the judge for recklessly handing out a no-knock warrant. Taylor’s murder is a difficult topic to talk about, but the cops were just exercising their warrant, and just carrying out the job that judge had given them. When shots were fired, there was confusion on both sides. Kenneth Walker fired his weapon because he thought an intruder was entering his home, and the police fired their weapons because they thought they were going to be harmed; and I believe that if the cops had gone to any other house with a no-knock warrant, and somebody inside the house shot for the same reason Walker did, the same outcome would have occurred.
The death of Taylor is not an example of the way black people are treated by police in our society, but instead shows an imbalance of power in the government. A judge should not be issuing a no-knock warrant for something so miniscule, especially when the defendant didn’t even live there any more.
Also, police need to learn to be more calm in situations like these, otherwise they’ll just end up pulling their guns again and killing somebody else. If they did announce their presence and Walker shot anyway, then the officers shouldn’t have just been recklessly shooting in the hallway. If they didn’t announce their presence, then Walker had a reasonable belief that they were intruders, and therefore had a right to fire his gun, and the fault is on the officers for not announcing their presence.
On Sept. 23, the Louisville police department arrested Brett Hankinson, one of two men who shot Taylor. However, Hankison was not charged for the murder of Taylor. He was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, as some of the bullets he fired went into the neighboring apartment, where a pregnant woman and her child stayed. Louisville’s attorney general of the case, Daniel Cameron, stated that he doesn’t expect any other charges in this case against the officers.
Following the news that the other three officers at the scene would not be charged with any counts of homicide, many more protests began in Kentucky. Most protests were peaceful, but some involved violent behavior.
In one protest two Louisville police officers were shot and protestors blocked the doors to the hospital, preventing injured officers from receiving help. However, the cops were eventually able to get the help they needed, as other officers forced the protestors out of the way of the hospital doors.
Greg Fischer, the Louisville mayor, moved the curfew to 9 pm, in hopes of stopping violent protesters. Fischer told the Associated Press that “We sadly saw some violence, including the shooting of two police officers, one of whom remains hospitalized, dealing with complications of his injuries. But we believe the curfew helped, by ensuring fewer people were out late in the day.” Fischer also said since fewer people would be out late in the day due to curfew, there wouldn’t be as many violent protesters.
However, on Sept. 26, protestors disregarded the curfew and continued to walk the streets, leading to police officers being called to try to disperse protestors. Instead, protestors damaged buildings and set fire to a library. So far, no deaths have resulted in the Taylor protests, although hundreds of people have been injured.
Taylor was an African-American woman who had just started working as a full-time ER technician at the University of Louisville Health. She was only 26 years old at the time of her death. It doesn’t matter what led up to her being shot, because she did not deserve to die or be shot in the first place. She was struck five times, five more times than she should have been hit. The whole situation seemed to be one major misunderstanding, and an unfortunate casualty resulted from it. May she rest in peace.