NAACP leader, attorney react to Breonna Taylor case decision
Questions are swirling about why Louisville, Kentucky, police officers weren’t charged in Breonna Taylor’s death on Wednesday. An indictment charges one former officer for shooting into neighboring apartments.
We spoke to the Lee County NAACP and a legal expert about the case.
After 194 days of waiting, James Muwakkil, the president of the Lee County NAACP, said this is not the justice he was hoping for.
Attorney Pamella Seay, an FGCU professor of legal studies, said we might never know what that grand jury heard, but she thinks it all came down to the validity of the no-knock warrant.
Muwakkil said Wednesday’s grand jury decision is not the justice Taylor deserved.
“That’s a blow to the African American community,” Muwakkil said.
A grand jury indicted one of the three officers involved in the shooting but not for Taylor’s death.
“Assuming that the no-knock warrant was valid and that the officers properly entered the home under the no-knock warrant, then, they were entitled to be there,” Seay said. “When someone pulled a gun on them first and fired on them, they had the right to protect themselves.”
Former officer Brett Hankinson was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting his gun toward Taylor’s neighbors’ apartments.
“They did not harm the neighbors but could have, and that’s the key,” Seay said. “In this particular instance, manslaughter would not appear to be an appropriate charge. The first gunshot appears to have come from this gentleman who was in the apartment. It didn’t come from the police.”
But Muwakkil said the penalty should have been much harsher. “Definitely manslaughter.”
“They have killed a woman who was just laying in her bed, who wasn’t bothering anyone, an innocent victim. And again, he’s only charged with the fact that he shot at walls?” said protester Shirley Byrd.
“What about her life?”
They say this should not be the end of the calls for justice and honoring Taylor’s life.
“There should be peaceful demonstrations going on all across this country,” Muwakkil said.
He said they’re planning to have a peaceful protest in Southwest Florida.
The former officer who was indicted could face up to five years for each of the three charges. His bail is set at $15,000.