Breonna Taylor and (Not) Indicting Cops

Yesterday was a sad day in Louisville. A grand jury opted to indict just one officer involved in the police killing of Breonna Taylor on March 13. The charges themselves do not relate to Taylor’s death, but to the shots fired into neighboring apartments. If this case had been lower profile, I have to wonder if even those charges would ever have been filed.

It’s easy to argue that the grand jury probably got it right given the laws in Kentucky, but that’s a small consolation when the laws on the books effectively prevented precisely the kind of public accountability that protestors want following Taylor’s death.

Here’s a quick podcast with Clark Neily on some of the troubling implications that this case has for policing:

The violence that followed last night will probably continue for several nights to come. Two police officers were shot, and reactions like that will continue to incentivize people who are relatively less affected by police violence to either ignore efforts to reform policing or dig in their heels to “back the blue” wherever possible.

Organized groups aiming to “defund” or “abolish” police are smaller than they look. Most people don’t want to end public responses to crime. Still, part of the promise of modern American life is that the justice system will give you a fair shake, and that when your rights have been violated, that the people responsible will be given a similarly fair shake. Right now, our legal system seems absolutely incapable of delivering on that promise.