The Breonna Taylor Debrief
We are seeing our nation erupt in turmoil again. This time it’s because of another contrived…er, perceived instance of police brutality and systematic racism. There are many actors in this case: The persons who were inside Breonna’s residence (Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker) at the time of the attempt by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) to act upon a drug related warrant; the LMPD; an associate of Kenneth’s (Jamarcus Glover) who was also named in the aforementioned warrant; Adrian Walker, a person named on the warrant with Kenneth Walker and Breonna Taylor – unclear if this person was present in the residence at the time of the incident. For the first part of this, I’ll be quoting from WAVE3, an NBC affiliate television station in Louisville, KY.
According to WAV3’s fact sheet on the Breonna Taylor case, These are the facts:
“+ LMPD officers went to the home of Breonna Taylor on Springfield Drive on March 13 to serve a warrant related to a drug trafficking investigation.
+ LMPD officials described that warrant as a “no-knock warrant,” meaning the officers were not required to announce themselves upon arriving at Taylor’s home, but those LMPD officials said they did anyway. Taylor’s family and attorneys dispute that the officers announced themselves.
+ A shootout ensued between a suspect inside the home -- Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker -- and the LMPD officers. One LMPD officer was struck, and three of them fired back. The officer who was struck has recovered. Taylor’s family has filed a civil lawsuit that states Walker thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and that’s why he fired his gun.
+ Walker, whose name was on the warrant, is now charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
+ Taylor was shot multiple times and died during the shootout.
+ Three LMPD officers -- Jon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove -- all were placed on administrative assignment, per department protocol.
+ There is no officer body-camera video of the incident. The aforementioned trio work in LMPD’s Criminal Interdiction Division, comprised of officers who generally work narcotics cases and therefore are not issued body-cameras due to the nature of their work.
+ Police fired shots from the outside into the apartment through closed blinds.
+ Another suspect named on the warrant, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at another location a short time before the police shootout at Taylor’s home, according to the arrest citation.
+ Taylor was not armed.
+ Attorneys for Taylor said neither Taylor nor Walker had a history of drugs or violence.
+ Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, already investigating Kenneth Walker, recused himself of the investigation into Taylor’s death, citing a conflict of interest. He has asked Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to appoint a special prosecutor for that investigation.
+ Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad have called for a federal review of the findings of the LMPD Public Integrity Unit’s investigation into the Taylor case, once it is complete.
And here are some responses to several inaccuracies the WAVE 3 News team has seen on some national news sites being passed around social media and:
+ Statement: Police had the wrong address
Fact: Taylor’s correct address was on the warrant, including her apartment number and pictures of the outside of her apartment and patio.
+ Statement: Breonna Taylor’s name wasn’t on the warrant
Fact: Breonna Taylor’s name was one of three people named on the warrant, which included her date of birth.
+ Statement: Police should have knocked and announced themselves before entering the home
Fact: The warrant was a “no-knock” warrant, meaning officers were not required to announce themselves before making entry. Again, LMPD says the officers did announce themselves, but Taylor’s attorneys dispute that claim.
+ Statement: Breonna Taylor was shot while sleeping in her bedroom
Fact: Taylor’s attorneys said she was not asleep and was shot in the hallway outside of her bedroom.
+ Statement: Police already had a suspect in custody
Fact: One person related to the drug trafficking investigation, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location on the same date. It is unclear whether police believed a third person named on the warrant, Adrian Walker, was inside the home at the time of the shootout, or at the location where Glover was arrested a short time earlier. It is not clear if Kenneth Walker and Adrian Walker are related.”
I find it interesting that the police state they announced their presence before attempted entry. Had I been the unit commander, I would have initiated the entry without knocking, per the protocol for this type of warrant. It is usually done in cases where there is an expectation of potential use of firearms to mitigate the preparation time of those against whom the warrant is served. Why they announced themselves is a question that the answer would potentially lead to insubordination charges and culpability of any deaths that ensued.
The fact that the attorneys for Breonna’s family are stating that the LMPD did not announce themselves is completely confusing (at face value, anyway), since the warrant allowed for a sudden, unannounced entry. It’s confusing for the reason I already stated – warning the subject, who’s suspected of being armed, places culpability on the police for any ensuing deaths, since the option of not warning them was expected to be observed by the team serving the warrant. Claiming that the police did not announce themselves seems to take away the potential for police liability. Now I suspect that the reason that his defense is claiming there was no police announcement was because they’re stating that he thought there was an intruder, which is why he shot through the door – before any other shots rang out. While this seems like a legitimate reason to those looking for the police to be the party at fault, it still places the onus on Mr. Walker for the ensuing firefight. If, as the defense states, there was no announcement, and the police had not yet breached the door, anyone could have been behind the door – kids running through the complex knocking on doors; a neighbor accidentally beginning to open the wrong door; an intruder; a competing drug-dealer looking for trouble; the apartment manager looking to inspect the property; the possibilities are limitless. The problem with this scenario: It does not take into account that the police had a warrant for this address. The LMPD had a reason to be there, authorized by a judge, to take the occupants of this address into custody with no need to announce themselves before breaching the door. Any conflict in this situation is fully the fault of the subject of the arrest. Because of the ‘No-Knock’ warrant, the LMPD would bear some liability of a death if they had announced themselves, in opposition to what the defendant’s attorneys are saying.
Now onto the protests. I have a good family friend whose son has an amazing new podcast. This podcast is called The No Spoon Podcast. Here are some of his recent episode titles: The Exploitation of Breonna Taylor, Defunding the Police?, Is it Black Lives that Matter? Please spend some time and listen to these to expound on many of the ideas and concepts surrounding this issue.
While this was a tragic event, as any death is, Breonna was far from innocent, as she was, at best, harboring a fugitive, and at worst a willing participant in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs in her community. The Black Lives Matter crowd has, yet again, hitched themselves to a sinking ship. My suggestion to them: Wait until you have a legitimately innocent person to have your protests, which turn into riots most of the time. Hide your intentions better by not making arguments that show you have no understanding of how to make an effective, thought-out argument. As a closing note, do you know why riots follow these “peaceful protests” most of the time? It’s not because of white supremacists, that can never be found amongst the rioters…it’s because as the facts come out and their protests begin to get filled with holes by logic and actual details, they must ramp it up to try to keep the focus on the real goals of the protests. What are these? Listen to The No Spoon Podcast…