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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A Walmart policy intended to promote women may have had unintended consequences, mourners honor RBG, and a grand jury declines to indict officers for killing Breonna Taylor. Have a reflective Wednesday.
– No justice, no peace. Over the past few months one of the most common rallying cries at protests against racism and police brutality has been: “Justice for Breonna Taylor!”
Those words again sprung to mind last night, as we learned that a grand jury declined to charge any of the officers involved in Taylor’s shooting with her death. Instead, the jurors indicted former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison with “wanton endangerment.” Hankison—the only officer to lose his job over the raid where Taylor was killed—fired ten bullets into the shade-covered windows and glass door of her apartment (some of which traveled into the next door apartment of a pregnant woman, her husband, and their 5-year-old. None were injured).
According to the FBI crime lab, the bullet that killed Taylor—who was struck six times—was fired by Detective Myles Cosgrove. (She was also shot by Sargent Jonathan Mattingly.) The grand jury ruled that the officers’ use of force was justified because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot first; Walker says he mistook the police for intruders.
As anyone who has been following the story knows, Walker has disputed some aspects of the police version of events. What’s more, conflicting reports from witnesses and an absence of body camera footage (the police involved in the raid were not wearing the devices) has blurred some important facts about exactly what happened the night of March 13. (I strongly recommend the two-part episode of the New York Times’ The Daily podcast for a deeper dive into the facts on the ground.)
While many legal experts had been predicting this outcome, it didn’t stop people from taking to the streets to express their sadness and anger. Americans raised their voices in protest in Louisville (where two officers were shot), New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, and many, many other cities and towns last night.
Their agony is not surprising. Do any of us want to live in society where it’s legal for the police to enter the home of an unarmed woman accused of no crime in the middle of the night, shoot her six times, and face no consequences?
The grand jury may have followed the guidelines set out by the law. But the beauty of laws is that they can be changed. And until we make it clear that we will not accept that what happened in Taylor’s home was, as Mattingly has described it “legal, moral and ethical,” we know it could happen again.
This is not justice for Breonna Taylor.
Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.