Once again, the United States is faced with the horrifying killing of an African-American in their own home by an overzealous and murderously careless police force.
On March 13th, the Louisville police burst into the home of Breonna Taylor while executing a drug warrant. Thinking they were being robbed, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired at the intruders, provoking a blind fire 20 shot barrage from the police that riddled Taylor with eight bullets, killing her.
Now the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Louisville Police Department, alleging that the police had a no-knock warrant (meaning they did not have to identify themselves) for a crack house many miles away, targeting an individual who was already in police custody.
“Not one person has talked to me. Not one person has explained anything to me. I want justice for her. I want them to say her name. There’s no reason Breonna should be dead at all,” says Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother.
No disciplinary action has been taken against the officers involved; to add injustice to murder, Kenneth Walker has been arrested and charged with attempted murder on a police officer and assault for using a firearm — which he had a license for — to defend himself from intruders.
Nothing highlights the grim double standard of race in the United States quite like the images of rifle-toting white militiamen screaming in the faces of stoic, motionless police officers juxtaposed with the treatment of Taylor and Walker.
It is clear that the supposed right to “stand your ground” and use firearms to defend your home — the most commonly cited justification for America’s wildly reckless gun ownership laws and firearm proliferation — only applies to white Americans.
The case has garnered little attention in a national media that is preoccupied with the coronavirus crisis and is instinctively deferential to law enforcement when it comes to the constant incidents of unnecessary police violence and the killings of African-Americans in this country.
On the one hand, it shouldn’t matter that Taylor and her boyfriend were upstanding citizens who never had a criminal record of any kind or that Taylor selflessly served her community as an EMT in a time of crisis, because no American deserves to be gunned down like an animal without charge or trial.
But on the other hand, it’s appalling to know that police can kill a sleeping Black EMT worker and arrest her boyfriend after botching a drug raid, and the nation barely blinks.
Why has the killing of Breonna Taylor taken so long to reach national news?
Why did it take two months and the release of the gruesome footage of his killing for the state of Georgia to take actions against the men who lynched Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery?
It feels like black lives matter even less in America these days. How could they not, when the federal government and the oligarch class is making it painfully obvious that not even white lives are worth protecting?
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.