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A Few Reflections on the Death of Breonna Taylor

(Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Reuters)

Yes, racism does exist. Yes, Breonna Taylor’s death was a tragedy. However, Breonna Taylor’s tragic death is not rooted in racism.”

A grand jury decision was made concerning the death of Breonna Taylor. Before the decision was even released on September 23rd, many already anticipated what the decision would be, and Louisville, Kentucky mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency. Ever since the death of Taylor, many have cried out for justice. Yet justice—at least, legally—has taken place, and now there are new protests that have erupted, and more chaos has ensued in what has already been an incredibly tumultuous year. What I have noticed in incidents involving officers firing shots and black Americans is that the mainstream media and celebrities (from LeBron James on down) continue to push a narrative that black Americans should (and do) live in fear of being killed by police simply due to the color of our skin. Buzzwords like “police officer,” “shot,” and “black person” are thrown around, and many on the Left eat up this narrative insatiably. Look at the recent incidents of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Daniel Prude, Deon Kay, and Ricardo Munoz. The necessity to prove truth and facts has decreased, and the importance of feelings has readily taken its place. 

With the death of Taylor, many all over the political spectrum sincerely believe that her loss is a tragedy. It is. Conservative political pundit Ben Shapiro, as well as conservative comedian and YouTuber Steven Crowder have stated this. But as Shapiro indicated in his video, “Not all tragedies are crimes, and not all crimes have to do with racism.” While this is no profound statement, this is a fundamental truth that must be accepted by all sides. Yes, racism does exist. Yes, Breonna Taylor’s death was a tragedy. However, Breonna Taylor’s tragic death is not rooted in racism.

A search warrant was being executed on Taylor’s apartment in connection with a drug case. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired first on police after the officers announced themselves. It was previously believed by many—including myself—at one point that a “no-knock” warrant was executed. However, the warrant was not executed as such, and police did announce themselves, a point that has been corroborated by a civilian witness. Walker claimed that he did not hear any announcement, and that was his reason for firing his legally-owned weapon. The man that police were looking was named Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend and a convicted drug trafficker. So why were they at Taylor’s address?

Glover had close ties with Taylor in the years and months leading up to her death, including mail addressed to Glover being at Taylor’s apartment; Glover using Taylor’s phone number and home address; Taylor allegedly handling Glover’s money; Taylor allowing Glover to drive her rental car (which had a dead body in it); and exchanging “I Love You’s” over the telephone. Would Taylor still be alive had she not maintained that relationship with Glover? I would say “Yes,” but I digress.

There is no evidence at all of race playing a factor in this incident. The officers involved did not come out guns blazing. The first shot was fired by Walker, which ended up severing the femoral artery of Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly. This was no execution or modern-day lynching as the Left would have you believe; there was crossfire, and Breonna Taylor, sadly, lost her life in the process. 

The Left likes playing identity politics and pulling the victim card. The viewpoint many on the Left have is as follows: Anything negative that happens to minorities in the United States is rooted in systemic oppression of some sort. When it comes to negative incidents involving black Americans and police officers, the mainstream media, Black Lives Matter, and social justice activists push the narrative that police officers are inherently evil and racist. They act as if it is open season on black people. 

Those on the Left ought to take into account the facts of each particular case before they start protesting, rioting, looting, and/or retaliating in other forms. With the officers not being charged and convicted of murder, cries of “Systemic Racism,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Defund the Police,” and many others are being shouted from the rooftops, even though justice was indeed carried out. The problem the press and the Left are having is that they wanted the officers to be punished for something they did not do and for Breonna Taylor to be seen as a martyr for that cause. In reality, they sought injustice.

Justice is an objective concept. Justice is not about a certain side of a legal battle always getting what it wants. Justice is independent from the feelings that anybody may be experiencing; justice is about truth and fairness. The truth in this case is that Breonna Taylor was killed in crossfire after officers were fired upon first, and it is also true that ex-Louisville police officer Detective Brett Hankison wantonly endangered the neighbors of Breonna Taylor. It is fair that Hankison faces three counts of wanton endangerment for putting three human lives in danger of injury or death. It is unfair that these three men were painted as murderers, and it is unfair that Mattingly was shot. It is fair, however, that Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not indicted due to the fact that they were fired upon first by Walker. The endgame that we as a society should seek is one of truth and justice. More specifically, we, as a society, must always look to due process and the rule of law, rather than rushing to judgement and relying on pre-packaged narratives.

Solomon Green is the host of the podcast “One More Thing with Solo Green.” 

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