Communique 9-24-2020 "Bring Me Justice"
By Philip Drucker
On September 23, 2020 Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a press conference to discuss the grand jury’s decision (or lack of) on the Breonna Taylor case. After paying lip-service to the friends and family of the deceased, calling the events of March 13th, 2020 a tragedy, he announced that of the three officers under investigation, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Brett Hankinson, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, the only person charged was now ex-detective Hankinson with a single count of reckless endangerment, a felony, for firing 10 bullets blindly into the home of Breonna Taylor in Apartment Four, some of which ended up traveling into Apartment Three.
Fortunately, and surely by the grace of God, none of the bullets hit any of the occupants, a male, pregnant female and child, all of whom were present in their home at the time of the shooting. Further testimony and forensics showed that it was Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker who fired the first, a single shot from what was reported as a proper shooting stance, non-fatally hitting Sergeant Mattingly in the hip.
In response, the remaining two officers fired a total of 22 shots including six hit the sleeping in the next room Ms. Taylor, one of which proved to be fatal. After an investigation by the FBI it was concluded that the fatal shot was fired by Detective Cosgrove. Kentucky later disagreed, but so what. Of course they did.
After the obligatory and self-serving reminder that their internal investigation found Cosgrove and Mattingly were justified in their use of force, the role of the grand jury, to investigate criminal activity and if so, the presence of probable cause as the threshold evidentiary requirement for bringing charges, the DA also made sure we all understood the grand jury also serves to protect the public against unfounded criminal prosecutions where probable cause is lacking.
After this brief but informative lesson in grand juries, evidentiary standards and criminal law, DA Cameron gave us the details of the single charge, Endangerment in the first degree, a class D felony in Kentucky that could result in a maximum five-year sentence.
After dropping the innocent till proven guilty bomb, nod to pursuing the truth, something about justice under Kentucky law, not everyone will be happy, it was learned his office would continue to pursue the single count as proscribed under the law of the Commonwealth, and would leave the rest to the Federal government, and whatever actions those may or may not be. Justice denied is justice denied. This is also where the conference started to deteriorate.
DA Cameron begins to blame the national media, celebrities, influencers, and activists who have never lived in Kentucky who “would try to tell us how to feel suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do.” Daniel Cameron (17:52) See Transcript. DA Cameron ends by making a tepid call for unity in the community before taking questions.
So, without further delay, I’d like to take a shot so to speak at how I think the good people of Kentucky might feel regarding the death of an innocent, sleeping, woman who it would appear will not receive anything that even remotely resembles justice in Kentucky, won't anytime soon, and in likelihood, never will.
Firstly, I hope the people of Kentucky and the community of Louisville understand that a settlement and vague promises of some sort of police reform is not a substitute for justice. They are reminders of what the Police Force should have already been doing, so don’t do it again, and that reformation resulting in true change is still necessary, if you don’t want to have it happen again.
Secondly, I can only conclude that Kentuckians don’t want POC owning firearms, regardless of whether they are registered and responsible gun owners or not. All issues of the 2nd Amendment aside, I am a firm believer that the basic right of all persons to own the firearm of their choice to defend their home, themselves and their loved ones, even against the attack of a Monarch is sacrosanct.
Without the acknowledgment of this basic human right the 2nd Amendment has no value or meaning to the average citizen, and is there simply to allow so called well-regulated militias, or individual 17 years and too young to own a firearm apparently roaming the streets looking for protesting anarchists to shoot on sight. You want to argue? Wake up. It just happened.
I would note there was no direct evidence offered that Walker knew he was confronted with police officers much less that he knew he was shooting at anyone other than an intruder with his registered, apparently very professional handling of a fire arm, in service of what is his natural right to self-defense, the defense of others, including his girlfriend, in his home, his castle, against all intruders.
Where is the NRA when you need them? In blunt summation, it appears to me Kenneth Walker’s only crime was thinking that in Kentucky he would have the same rights as let’s say a mass murderer who was treated by the police to Burger King right after he shot and killed nine African Americans in a house of worship and under a roof sanctified and provided for by the Lord.
Instead, Walker was the only person charged with murder until Kentucky realized that was a racist bridge too far, withdrawing their accusations right around the time the story went national. You know, at the time persons other than the people of Kentucky found out what was taking place down in the Blue-Line-Grass State.
I saved the most disturbing for last. People of Kentucky, if you are listening, in his 21:30 minutes of prepared commentary, your DA repeatedly calls for the right of all Kentuckians to abide by the laws, rules and traditions associated with their unique past and time tested present views of crime, punishment, socially mandated and I’m sure religious morality.
I find it unnecessary to delve into Kentucky’s history to at least suggest there are a few aspects of race relations, systematic racism and outright bigoted activities you might want to address and hopefully, change. Change is good. That is why all Americans are given every opportunity to learn, to grow and to change for the better. You know, in America, even white people have the right to change, for the better, or worse.
But, when I say, “for the better” it means not to honor and continue antiquated, out of date and best left forgotten continuations of “privilege”, but instead to enact real and meaningful changes in the name and good of all persons, regardless of their race, creed, gender, sexual orientation and choice of religion. We in America call this phenomenon Equal Protection.
In closing, may I at least suggest you consider the killing of Breonna Taylor, a young vibrant woman who was an active and productive, by all accounts kind, loving and caring part of your community, be given the right to justice? The kind of American justice we all, every one of us in the USA so richly cherishes and yes, in Breonna's case, so richly deserves? along with and preserving for all the citizens of Kentucky these same rights? In Louisville? In South Carolina? (Emanuel AME Church) In Minnesota? (George Floyd) In Wisconsin (Jacob Blake) and…you get the picture, or don’t you?