By C.C. Campbell-Rock

The tip-off was the boarded up buildings, the blockaded streets, and eerie quietness. Similar to the preparations for a hurricane, the city Louisville was ready for the onslaught they knew was coming. They knew that the news wouldn’t be good. But unlike a hurricane, the people were in the streets.

And now the citizens of Louisville are protesting. They are marching against the wanton, reckless killing of Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician. Seems the city of Louisville knew cops would not be charged with killing her.

Despite 100 days of protests in Kentucky and numerous celebrities and artists calling for Justice For Breonna, including Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, Kerry Washington, and countless other Americans, no justice is forthcoming.

After six months, a Grand Jury convened by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, handed down an indictment that had nothing to do with Breonna Taylor’s death by cops who used a battering ram to breech her apartment in the wee hours of March 13, and shot her six times. 

Officers Version Disputed

Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove, and now former Detective Brett Hankison, who were part of LMPD’s Interdiction Unit were allegedly executing a no-knock warrant and searching for drugs. They were in plainclothes and without body cams. The officers’  claims that they announced themselves is in dispute. Taylor’s partner, Kenneth Walker and 10 others said cops didn’t announce themselves. One person said they did. Walker is a licensed gun owner and shot at the people who entered the apartment. He believed they were intruders. Appropriately he called 911 to report the intrusion.

In the end, none of the officers were charged with Breonna Taylor’s murder. 

The only one indicted for his actions that night was Hankison, who fired shots into a nearby apartment. Still he was only charged with three counts of wanton endangerment even though he also shot 10 bullets into Taylor’s apartment. One news report says officers shot 32 times.

“Breonna Taylor’s life was full of possibilities but criminally cut short by Louisville police officers. This pattern is FAR too present in the lives of our Black Brothers and Sisters. We need CHANGE and JUSTICE!! #BlackWomenMatter #SayHerName,” tweeted Attorney Ben Crump, who joined the legal team that represented Taylor’s family in a civil lawsuit.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, received  $12 million in a settlement. The settlement does include police reform measures. But Kentucky taxpayers will pay this cost.

Kentucky Ag Cameron with local sheriff

Discretion of AG in Question

However, Kentucky Attorney General Cameron actions in Taylor’s case is the sole reason she nor her family will ever receive real justice. Furthermore, his actions are the only reason why the cops who killed her will never face criminal charges.

In announcing the Grand Jury decision, Cameron said the officers were justified in shooting and killing Taylor. “Our investigation showed Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning deadly fire. According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges.“

Critics of Cameron’s action have raised several disturbing aspects regarding his use of the Grand Jury process.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, a civil right activist and former member of President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force commented on the Cameron’s announcement in an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Rhule.

“Daniel Cameron applies a different standard for police officers. He’s a conservative Republican and in the press conference he was repeating President Trump’s talking points. The hypocrisy is so thick, I can’t even see straight,” Cunningham says. “He continued to talk about these officers being innocent until proven guilty but there was no due process for Breonna Taylor.

Protests Will Continue

“None of this would be happening if the police would stop killing us. Kenneth Walker tired to employ the Castle Doctrine and stand his ground and protect his home. The NRA should be all over this in defense of Kenneth Walker because he and 10 neighbors maintain that the police didn’t announce themselves.”

Ben Crump & Breonna’s Family

“Her family, as I do, thinks this was a sham proceeding. They had a wanton endangerment charge for bullets going into the white people’s apartment but not for the bullets that went into Breonna’s body,” Attorney Ben Crump adds.

Attorney Kenneth Jones Jr. questioned the extent of Cameron’s investigation. “Did he look at the warrant application or seek the circumstances surrounding it? How do you not want to know if the officers should have been there?  The city paid $12 million. You don’t pay if you did nothing wrong. This is absolutely bizarre. After 20 years as a lawyer, I’ve never been so disgusted and confused about this mockery of the law.”

NOLA Attorney’s Express Doubt

Several New Orleans-based veteran civil rights attorneys also shared their perspectives on the Grand Jury decision.

“The Attorney General says Mitch McConnell is a “father figure” to him. That tells you who he is. The Kentucky Attorney General got exactly what he wanted. The modern Grand Jury is a tool providing cover for the District Attorney. The Grand Jury hears only what he chooses to tell them, only his evidence. In the legal profession, it is said that  any competent District Attorney could indict a ‘ham sandwich,’ if he wanted to,” said Civil Rights Attorney Ernest Jones.

Cameron, 34, is a Republican. Donald Trump has calls him a “rising star.”  Cameron delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention. Cameron is being groomed to take his mentor McConnell seat when McConnell retires. McConnell attended Cameron’s August 7, wedding to Makenze Evans, 27, who is white.

Jones’ comments raise several questions: Who was chosen to sit on the Grand Jury? Were there any black jurors. Did Cameron tell them about the cops being in plain clothes and that they didn’t wear body cams? Did he tell the Grand Jury that the majority of witnesses, including Kenneth Walker, didn’t hear any official announcement that they were the police? Was the Grand Jury told if there were any prior investigations of Breonna Taylor and why was she listed as a suspect? And why exactly didn’t the local District Attorney handle the case. Why did Cameron take the case? These questions may never be answered because Grand Jury proceedings are secret.

Taylor’s attorneys are currently seeking transcripts of the Grand Jury hearings.

Prosecutors determine outcomes

“Grand juries do what the prosecutors want them to do.  Grand juries only look at the evidence given to them by the prosecutor.  If the prosecutor wants a grand jury to do something, they will.  If the prosecutor does not want a grand jury to do something, they won’t. 

“The law gives special protections to police.  Police officers are rarely prosecuted because the rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to them.  If anyone other than the police had done that, they would be charged with first degree murder.  Our country has to level the playing field and give the police the same rights and responsibilities as every other citizen,” says Loyola Law Professor Bill Quigley.

“Racism and the criminal legal system go hand in hand.  Does anyone think that if three black police officers killed a white woman in the same circumstances that they would not be charged? “ Quigley asks.

The Grand Jury is a good tool in the hands of someone who is honest and has integrity.  Cameron has none,” says Attorney Ron Wilson. Cameron will fight like hell not to release the Grand Jury transcripts,” he adds.

“There will be no justice for Breonna Taylor,” because of Cameron. “That poor young woman was working two jobs. I’m sure the $12 million dollars is not enough to compensate for a human life. I’m sure Breonna Taylor’s mother would rather have a daughter, instead.”

“We black people have to get rid of Black Republicans like Cameron and Senator Tim Scott. We have to stop voting for a person just because they are black. A black face ain’t enough,” Wilson advises.   AG  Cameron’s Grand Jury Announcement  AG Cameron Speech at RNC     Protest March in Louisville


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