Sometimes, police officers can do everything right, and things still go to hell.
I’ve not written on the Breonna Taylor case because everything I was able to find—until September 24—did not ring true. Police officers sometimes make mistakes with warrants–even lie to obtain them–and sometimes engage in less than justified shooting, but this particular case seemed too good to be true in a media/BLM/Antifa narrative sense. When Benjamin Crump, a race hustling, racist lawyer got involved representing the Taylor family, and quickly negotiated a $12 million dollar payday, I was sure the social justice narrative was too good to be true. Now we know it was, not that that means anything to the thugs destroying, looting and burning Louisville and other cities.
Some of the elements of the narrative:
*Taylor was shot while in bed.
*The police served a no-knock warrant and did not identity themselves as police.
*The police had no cause to shoot at all, and shot first.
*The police had no reason to think the man they were seeking was at Taylor’s apartment.
*The shooting was racist (always, regardless of any possible facts).
All of this, and more, was entirely false.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy explains at National Review:
The criminal law is not designed to address every human tragedy. That is the lesson of the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. It was also the theme repeatedly struck by Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron on Wednesday, in announcing the indictment of one of the three officers involved in the raid that lead to her death.
One is tempted to say nothing less than the public drawing and quartering of the three officers involved would satisfy the mob, but of course, nothing will. More on this shortly.
The two officers who actually shot Ms. Taylor a total of six times were not charged. The indictment, instead, lodges three counts of wanton endangerment — not homicide — against Brett Hankison, then a detective (since fired), whose wild firing put neighbors in harm’s way but did not kill the young woman.
Police will be relieved that no charges were brought against Sergeant Jon Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, whose shots in the dark chaos struck Ms. Taylor only after the officers were fired upon by her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker — who himself may have been justified, in the confusion, in shooting at what he says he believed was an intruder. The cops were doing their job in executing a lawful search warrant at a location that was quite justifiably tied to a notorious criminal — Ms. Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
Hankinson, who was fired, and justifiably so, shortly after the incident, was in the parking lot of the apartment. Hearing gunfire somewhere within, he engaged in what I call “me too!” shooting, firing wildly and blindly into a neighboring apartment—from the parking lot. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but he was fired because he wantonly endangered the lives of the people in that apartment—and surely surrounding apartments—and that specific charge under state law was lodged against him.
In similar cases around the country over the last several years, prosecutors have prioritized the mob over the evidence. To his great credit, Attorney General Cameron did not. As an African-American law enforcement official who has dealt extensively with the Taylor family, the strain of the case on him and his office was obvious at his press conference, and he spoke eloquently about that. No one can quarrel with the grand jury’s conclusion that Hankison deserved to be charged because of his life-threatening recklessness. In another case, since he did not actually injure anyone, the state might have been content with firing Hankison. But the enormity of Ms. Taylor’s death made such leniency impossible to rationalize.
By all means, take the link and read the rest of McCarthy’s summary of the facts, which AG Cameron has released. Let’s examine the social justice elements, and contrast them with facts.
1) Taylor was shot while in bed. False. Taylor was standing next to her boyfriend in the hallway as he fired at the officers and they returned fire.
2) The police served a no-knock warrant and did not identity themselves as police. False. The officers were serving a valid warrant, and clearly identified themselves. We need not take their word for it; there was at least one uninvolved witness to the fact.
3) The police had no cause to shoot at all, and shot first. False. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, appeared in the long, dark hallway almost immediately after the officers identified themselves and entered. He shot first, badly wounding Sgt. Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly and Det. Cosgrove returned fire, missing Walker, but hitting Taylor six times.
4) The police had no reason to think the man they were seeking was at Taylor’s apartment. False. Though Glover was apparently not living with Taylor, she maintained a close relationship with him. He was frequently seen at her apartment, and apparently used it to stash illicit cash. Their belief he was present was in good faith and based on surveillance and other reasonable observations and facts.
5) The shooting was racist (always, regardless of any possible facts). False. There is no evidence to believe race was a factor in this incident. Remember, Walker fired first and badly wounded one of the officers before they fired a shot.
If that’s so, why wasn’t Walker charged with a crime? He claimed he didn’t know the officers were police, and believed Glover might have been breaking in. Obviously, the grand jury, and AG Cameron, found this claim believable. If the police and system were institutionally, irretrievable racist, would a black man have escaped murder charges? Serving even legitimate warrants is always fraught with danger.
Sgt. Mattingly and Det. Cosgrove did everything right. They were serving a valid warrant, based on genuine probable cause. They were not aware Walker was present, or that he was armed; they expected to find Taylor home alone. They followed the law and identified themselves and their purpose. Fired upon and wounded, they returned fire, which was clearly in self-defense. Tragically, their bullets found only Breonna Taylor. This is why the city of Louisville settled for 12 million dollars.
What we’re seeing in this, and many other cases, is mob justice, not the workings of the legitimate criminal and justice systems. Under normal circumstances, even Det. Hankinson would not have been charged with a crime, losing his job and almost certainly his career would have been sufficient. But because he is white and Breonna Taylor was black, and because the mob has been destroying, looting and burning since her death, the mob had to be appeased.
Mobs can never be appeased. If every officer involved had been charged with capital murder, even that would not have been enough, because they were dead, and if they were summarily executed, even that would not have been enough because racism and white supremacy, and 1619, etc.. They can never be appeased because they’re not rioting for justice, so no possible imposition of justice will satisfy them.
We now find ourselves in a bizarre Twilight Zone where police officers having the misfortune to legitimately use force against people trying to kill them are more likely to be charged with a crime than their attackers. The precedent is clear: any police officer particularly a white officer, making lawful arrests of black criminals is taking their career, even their life, in their hands. Their superiors will not be allowed to support them, their local political “leaders” will howl for their blood, and local prosecutors will not prosecute criminals, but will be glad to prosecute them.
Thankfully, this is not so in most of America, but in larger, Democrat-ruled cities, it is the status quo. Even elsewhere, officers are very much aware of the Ferguson Effect, and are dramatically curtailing proactive law enforcement. Why risk one’s career and freedom? Doing little or nothing is not only safer, it pays the same.
This ugly status quo will surely get worse unless the actual law is enforced, uniformly, rigorously, surely and swiftly against so-called “peaceful protestors.” Yet the citizens of Democrat-ruled cities continue to elect lunatic leftists, including prosecutors running on the pledge not to prosecute crime. They’re giving it to themselves, good and hard.
Breanna Taylor’s death is surely a tragedy, but it was not, under any rational reading of the law, a crime. However, as with the Trayvon Martin case, the Michael Brown case and many others, the false narrative will never be corrected, and America continues to burn.
How long, I wonder, will it take for virtually no one sane people want to see in law enforcement are all that is left willing to take the job?