MILES RICHARDSON- STAFF WRITER
Tamika Mallory spoke at a press conference in order to address Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who recently announced his decision to charge only one officer involved in the Breonna Taylor case. During the conference, Mallory had this to say: “Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout Negroes that sold our people into slavery. We have no respect for your black skin.” This is an opinion that many African Ameri- cans hold. According to senior Theatre major Kayla Harrison, “The attorney general should be ashamed of himself.” While I do not agree with these women, I can respect their opinions. With that being said, I hope you can give me the same courtesy, even after I tell you that I believe the decision in the Breonna Taylor case was ultimately the right one.
The New York Times reported that on the night of March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove broke down the door of Taylor’s apartment, attempting to serve a “no-knock” search warrant. The officers, as corroborated by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, stated that they knocked several times anyway. However, Walker says he never heard the officers identify themselves. Once the officers entered the apartment, Walker picked up his legally owned pistol and shot at the officers. Once Mattingly was hit by Walker’s bullet, the three officers responded by firingseveral rounds, hitting Taylor six times, and killing her.
Now, according to a report given to The Courier Journal by the Jefferson County coroner, the only fatal shot came from detective Cosgrove, who was in the doorway and could clearly see Walker’s gun being aimed at him. Detective Brett Hankison, who fired 10 rounds blindly into the apartment from outside, was the only officer charged. It is also important to add that none of Hankinson’s bullets were found to have struck Breonna Taylor. While these facts could be used to highlight this incident as simply an- other example of a Black person being victimized by a racially unjust police force, I choose to see a much more complicated narrative.
Kentucky is a stand your ground state, meaning citizens have the right to use deadly force to protect them- selves if they feel their life is being threatened. So when Walker had his door kicked open at 12:40 a.m., with no way of knowing the intruders were police officers, he most likely saw this as a legitimate threat to his well-being, and therefore, was within his rights to respond with force.
However, let’s put ourselves in the officers’ shoes for a moment. They have arrived at the address of an alleged drug dealer to serve a no-knock warrant, according to The Courier Journal, although they are well aware of the violent nature of the drug business, they have decided to knock anyway, knowing that they could be giving possible drug dealers inside time to arm themselves and wait for them to make their entry. After knocking and identi- fying themselves several times (as they claim they did), they broke down the door and were immediately met with gunfire, and responded by returning fire.
Some may see the 10 rounds unloaded during the shooting as excessive. I would challenge anyone of this opinion to seriously consider how many shots they would’ve liked to be fired if it was their life on the line.
But beyond this, there seems to be another elephant in the room here. Isn’t it reasonable to presume the officers could’ve identified themselves, but Walker simply couldn’t hear them from his bedroom? I don’t know how big Walker’s apartment is, but I do know there were at least two doors and an en- tire living room between them. Given this insight, I think that it’s safe to say that there is a strong possibility that this could have simply been a misunder- standing.
As I examine the facts of this case, I cannot help but come to the conclu- sion that Breonna Taylor, God rest her soul, was not a victim of systemic op- pression, but of unlucky circumstances. But then again, maybe I’m just another sellout Negro.