The City of Louisville recently announced a $12 Million wrongful death settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor died in her home in March 2020 when police kicked in her door serving a search warrant. That warrant, we knew even back then, was due to Taylor’s connection to an ex-boyfriend who was active in the streets and the illicit drug trade.
The New York Times published a solid piece on how it all happened. In short, Breonna Taylor used to date Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer who ran several “trap houses” in the city. He’d previously used Breonna’s car for transportation and her home address to receive mail. Because of this, Breonna’s home address was on the police search warrant.
When Louisville police served the warrant at Taylor’s home, they knew that Glover — the drug dealer — wasn’t there. He was at another of the 4 raid targets that all got hit at the same time on that fateful night.
Violence happened at only one of the 4 targets: Breonna Taylor’s home.
Taylor’s new beau, Kenneth Walker, was with Breonna when the police came. He wasn’t part of the criminal investigation; it appears the police didn’t even know he was there when they showed up, banging on Taylor’s door just past midnight.
Walker is a registered gun owner. When he didn’t hear a reply to multiple “who is it?” inquiries to the banging on the apartment door, he grabbed his gun.
Police, their knocks unanswered, kicked the door in. Walker fired, which he is legally allowed to do (Kentucky is a “stand your ground” state), hitting one of the 3 police officers in the leg.
Officers returned fire (which they are also legally allowed to do). 20+ Bullets fired. Only one person got hit: Breonna Taylor.
Depending on what article you read, she took between 5-8 bullets. She bled out and died in her hallway.
All officers involved were White.
The NYT piece paints a wider and more detailed picture of how the lives of Taylor, Glover and Walker came to this point. I encourage you to read it. I’m here to talk about why it happened and who/what should be rightfully blamed for it.
TRUTH: Breonna Taylor’s death, if we’re focusing just on the facts, was a result of really bad luck.
FACT: The police had a warrant to search her house. While there is a hanging question as to whether the police knocked and announced themselves or not, the warrant itself was justified: it was a known address of a drug dealer.
FACT: Taylor’s current boyfriend had a legal gun that he was legally authorized to use in what he, from all accounts, perceived as a home invasion. He used it.
FACT: The police returned fire, as any reasonable cop — of any color — would have done in such a situation.
FACT: Breonna — the only person involved without a gun — took the worst of it.
(FACT: Another officer involved that night went to the patio sliding door and fired indiscriminately ten times into the apartment, hitting no one. He was fired.)
If every survivor of the incident is to be believed — the police said they identified themselves from outside, and Walker said he didn’t hear anything from inside — then nobody is legally “wrong” here. If the front door of Taylor’s apartment was thick enough, outsiders couldn’t hear in, and insiders couldn’t hear out. Both accounts are reasonable and believable.
The other police haven’t been charged (yet — as of this writing, the internal investigation is ongoing) because of the clear reasonable doubt in the case.
1) They showed up to serve a warrant.
2) They announced themselves (even though they had a no-knock warrant, they said they knocked anyway — which Walker corroborated).
3) Kicking the door in, they were fired upon.
4) Gunfire was returned.
5) Someone got hit.
The saying is, “shit happens.” What happened to Breonna Taylor is shit that cost a 99% innocent person with no criminal history her life.
Let’s address the 1%.
Glover was/is the drug dealer. He’s the one who was living “that life.” Breonna Taylor, spotted multiple times at the trap houses in her car picking up and dropping off her BF, knew of the life he was living.
Knowing what I know, I am 99.9% sure she knew about his lifestyle before she decided to date the guy. It was Breonna Taylor’s choice to do so.
Stay with me.
Anyone who’s either from the hood or who has watched a movie or TV series knows there are only two ways out of the street business: Death or Prison. From all that we know to date, Breonna Taylor was not in that business; Glover was.
Breonna Taylor chose Glover as an intimate associate.
What does the Law Of Association state? You become the average of the people you spend the most time with. It can be five people, two people or thirty. You become your associates. Their life bleeds into your life.
Breonna Taylor committed no crime. If Walker didn’t have a gun (the fateful stroke of bad luck), Breonna would be alive today, albeit with a front door to be repaired and a “tossed” house to put back together after the police had finished serving their search warrant. She’d likely be subpoenaed to appear in court and testify against her ex at trial.
Her bad luck was that her current boyfriend had a gun. Her mistake — the 1% — was her association with the wrong type of person: her ex.
When it comes to Black folks, Breonna Taylor’s death was / is an easy sell. Anything that even hints at White-person-does-Black-person-wrong is a layup for woke “leaders” with large followings.
The details don’t matter. The facts don’t matter. Nuance? To hell with nuance, Dre. We were slaves for 400 years!! Donald Trump!!
I haven’t heard anyone say a cross word about Jamarcus Glover, the definite criminal in all of this. Had Breonna never dealt with him, she’d be alive today. He’s the person who brought this element of police into his ex’s life. This is a fact. But because a White cop fired the shots, Glover is forgotten in all of this.
If Breonna Taylor had survived her gunshots and asked me what I thought of her situation, the following would be stated somewhere in the conversation.
“You made a decision to associate with a person whose life choices narrowed his outcomes to either death or prison. That choice started the string of events, mostly out of your control, that led to you being a victim of gunfire. Do you understand that?”
If she couldn’t accept that, we couldn’t keep talking.
If YOU, reader, can’t accept that, you are reading the wrong person.
People have made a slogan out of calling for the police involved in the shooting to be arrested. I don’t think they will be — and if they are, they won’t be imprisoned. An arrest would only be due to public pressure, and while that would appease many, it would cause more problems than it solves.
First, arresting and charging those cops costs taxpayer money. Prosecutors don’t go to trial unless they think they can win. Such a case would be exactly what it looks like: caving to public outcry and an attempted railroading of the cops in question. The policeman’s lawyers would destroy the charges in court on reasonable doubt alone and the officers would walk.
A not guilty result in court would lead to riots all over the country — which means more police-on-Black activity (and,now, Black-on-police activity), and… you know the rest.
On that subject of calling for arrests, it’s the Ice Bucket Challenge now: people are using Breonna Taylor’s name to draw attention to themselves and their wokeness. Wearing Breonna Taylor t-shirts and putting her face on sneakers and jerseys won’t speed up the legal process and doesn’t bring life back — but it will get you likes and retweets.
Some of the people out there making noise have been in the game of social activism for a long time (not that they have achieved much, but at least they’re consistent). Most noisemakers, however, are “convenient activists.”
Look through your timeline: who, famous or not, was doing or saying ANYTHING about uplifting and helping others BEFORE it was a trending topic?
I’ll make it simple: If you weren’t doing shit to uplift a community — any community — BEFORE the Black deaths that went mainstream in the Spring of 2020, shut the fuck up. There are people whose online activity consisted of tweeting about Love & Hip Hop episodes and posting street fight videos who now want to be Malcolm X in their captions.
It’s disgusting. Sit down.
Don’t use another person’s death to draw attention to yourself. It’s disrespectful to her family. Hashtags don’t get people arrested.
This article won’t go viral. I’m being reasonable, objective, and not blaming anyone. I’m not making it about race. I don’t aim for sensationalism. No one can get mad at me for what I’ve said (except maybe the armchair activists mentioned in the previous paragraph). I haven’t demonized any person or group. I’ve made no sweeping generalizations.
If you want something you’ve created to go viral, do the opposite of what I’ve done here.
What I have done is describe the crux of the Breonna Taylor situation. It’s not a clear black-and-white thing. It’s not right vs wrong either. It’s murky, with a lot of grey blended in and a bunch of people with big megaphones calling for something to happen.
For the police, it’s a political mess and a permanent black eye. For Breonna Taylor’s family, it’s a hell of a price to pay for bad luck and bad timing (a human life can’t be bought for $12 million).
For me, and maybe you, it’s an opportunity to resist the emotional jet stream and see things objectively.
I hope I have served.
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