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Breonna Taylor Case: Black Lives Matter Movement

Brito, C. (2020). Family sues after 26-year-old EMT is shot and killed by police in her own home. CBS News. Web.

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Brito reported on the Breonna Taylor case that gained a lot of public attention due to the Black Lives Matter movement. Breonna Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against LMPD officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankinson, and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly. Breonna’s family accused Louisville Metro Police Department officers of excessive force and negligence during their drug investigation. Cosgrove, Hankinson, and Mattingly entered Taylor’s home with a search warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire and injured one of the officers in the leg. As a result, LMPD returned fire with more than 20 rounds. Breonna was shot 8 times, which resulted in her death. According to the lawsuit, Walker’s actions were completely justified since he thought he and his girlfriend were being burglarized. Kenneth Walker was a licensed gun owner, who exercised his Second Amendment right, according to Taylors’ lawyer. The LMPD announced that the officers in question had a “no-knock” search warrant.

However, Brito argued that investigation demonstrated that the warrant changed to “knock and announce” before Hankinson, Cosgrove, and Mattingly left for Taylor’s apartment. Taylor’s family filed a lawsuit because they believed that the officers had to announce themselves before entering Breonna’s apartment. Walker’s actions could be considered self-defense, which would prove why the couple called 911. Taylor’s family emphasized that Breonna was a law-abiding citizen and a health professional, who helped to fight the coronavirus outbreak diligently. The officers, according to Taylors, disregarded the value of human life by opening gunfire after failing to knock and announce themselves. Kenneth and Breonna, therefore, believed they were in imminent danger, which would explain why Walker opened fire. Since Mattingly suffered a leg injury (Kenneth Walker opened fire blindly outside the front door), Walker was charged with first degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. As a result of an extensive investigation, these charges were dropped. Both Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Governor Andy Beshear expressed their intention to seek justice and find the truth in the case of Breonna Taylor. The three officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative reassignment during the internal investigation within the Louisville Metro Police Department. Brito added that the lawsuit brought up Hankinson and Cosgrove’s history of excessive force use as policemen.

Dolan, B. (2019). To knock or not to knock? No-knock warrants and confrontational policing. St John’s Law Review, 93(1), 201-231. Web.

A no-knock search warrant grants a police officer a legal right to enter the premises without giving notice to homeowners. These regulations have been put into place in order to ensure officer safety and decrease the risk of possible evidence destruction. A no-knock warrant stands in opposition to a knock-and-announce requirement that requires executing officers to provide notice of themselves and their purpose before forceful entry. This requirement provides protection for both police and homeowners. It allows police to avoid any danger associated with homeowners mistaking them for burglars or robbers. On the other hand, it gives citizens an opportunity to protect themselves from unreasonable searches and seizures. Dolan claims that there are multiple problems that arise with the implementation of such no-knock search warrants. Firstly, the tragic example of Breonna Taylor demonstrates that such warrants fail to ensure the safety of both civilians and officers.

Homeowners often mistake announced law enforcement agents as robbers. In an effort to save themselves from imminent danger, they can injure policemen and even shoot at them. Secondly, according to Dolan, no-knock warrants oppose the presumption of innocence. Thirdly, such search warrants fail to take into account the inaccurate information or mistaken identity that police might possess. Lastly, it is evident that no-knock warrants are disproportionately used against people of color as a result of the ongoing War on Drugs. This means that POC communities have to deal with destruction and death associated with no-knock raids in a disproportionate manner as well. Dolan argues that although, in theory, no-knock warrants are justified in order to ensure officer safety, they fail to avoid the risk of confrontation between homeowners and law enforcement, which can result in deaths and injuries. It is, therefore, apparent that state authorities need to review their policing regulations in regards to the use of no-knock warrants.

Duvall, T. (2020). Louisville police release the Breonna Taylor incident report. It’s virtually blank. Louisville Courier Journal. Web.

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Tessa Duvall comments that the LMPD has released the incident report nearly three months after Breonna Taylor’s death. However, the report appears to be almost entirely blank. It lists the victim’s full name (with a mistake in her middle name), the time, date, location, and case number. It also includes Breonna’s age and gender. The report lists the woman’s injuries as “none” even though Taylor has been shot eight times in her apartment by the three officers from the narcotics unit. She died as a result of those injuries, but none of them are listed in the LMPD incident report. The official document checks “no” under the “forced entry” box, which contradicts the evidence that clearly shows Taylor’s apartment door being knocked in with a battering ram. The most crucial part of the report that should explain the timeline and details of what exactly occurred on the night of March 13 is missing. The “narrative” portion is completely blank apart from two words: “PIU investigation.” According to Duvall, the department acknowledged the errors citing the reporting program for creating paper files as a source of mistakes and inconsistencies. Additionally, the Courier Journal is suing the Louisville Metro Police Department since the journalists seek the immediate release of the investigative file on the Breonna Taylor case. Duvall mentions that the 911 call from the night of the incident has been released only after it got leaked to the media.

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, H. R. 7120 (2020). Web.

Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is the government’s initiative to end racial profiling and transform the culture within law enforcement. The Act’s primary goal is to ensure there is trust between the public and the police by addressing the systematic racism in police encounters. The Justice in Policing Act would establish a national standard for all the police departments, particularly in regards to officers’ use of excessive force. The Act aims to introduce independent prosecutors to internal police investigations in order to ensure justice. Its objectives include ending racial and religious profiling by mandating training on the topic of discriminatory profiling as well as banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants. The Act requires all federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras on their marked vehicles. It also encourages holding police accountable in court by giving the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division the authority to exercise subpoena power. In addition, the Justice in policing Act of 2020 aims to support community-based programs that can help reimagine public safety in a just way. The Act also establishes a series of public safety innovation grants for such organizations and programs in order to encourage communities to create equitable approaches to public safety.

Oppel, R. A., & Taylor, D. B. (2020). Here’s what you need to know about Breonna Taylor’s death. The New York Times. Web.

Oppel and Taylor report that since the March 13 incident, the Louisville officials banned the use of no-knock warrants, while the LMPD fired Detective Bret Hankinson, who shot blindly at the apartment of Ms. Taylor close to 10 times. The family of late Breonna Taylor is still seeking criminal charges against the three officers involved in the incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Kentucky attorney general have revealed that they are in the process of examining a ballistics report associated with the Breonna Taylor case. However, they declined to share the findings from this new critical piece if investigation. Originally, the LMPD received a court approval for a no-knock warrant in association with Breonna Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, who was arrested in possession of drugs on August 27, according to the New York Times article. Oppel and Taylor argue that the orders have been changed to knock-and-announce before the raid. The officers claimed that they announced themselves, but Kenneth Walker disagreed. The charges against Walker were dropped before the grand jury indictment, which suggested that prosecutors could have doubts about the version of events told by the officers involved in the incident. Despite Breonna’s family’s lawsuit, none of the officers were charged, and only one of them was fired. The general public deemed the case to be the example of injustice associated with being black and started trending a hashtag Say Her Name in support of Taylor and other black victims of police brutality.

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