For two weeks, our nation has watched as hundreds upon hundreds of horrifying acts of brutal violence have been perpetrated by the police against peaceful protesters in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Politicians and police alike agree that “reforms” are in order, but have been highly resistant to any kind of fundamental change to the way police departments operate and the staggering amount of taxpayer funds they are given to oppress us with.
But the way in which the Louisville Police have handled the killing of an EMT nurse while she slept in her own bed should make it clear to the whole nation that the police are utterly unwilling to reform themselves and have no intention of changing the way they treat the citizens of this country.
On March 13th, the Louisville police burst into the home of Breonna Taylor while executing a no-knock drug warrant. Thinking they were being robbed, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired at the intruders, wounding one in the leg. The cops responded with a blind fire 20 shot barrage that riddled Taylor with eight bullets, killing her.
Three months later, police have finally released the incident report from that awful night — and left it almost entirely blank.
Some of the little information they did deign to give was unequivocally and appallingly false, like listing “injuries” as “none” even though Taylor was shot eight times and died on the floor in a pool of her own blood, according to her family’s attorneys. It also checks the “no” box for “forced entry,” even though officers used a battering ram to break down her door.
But when the report asks the cops to describe what happens, it just says “PIU investigation.”
The rest is blank.
It is the height of arrogance and callous cruelty for the Louisville police to lie so brazenly on a public document and to not even make the most cursory of efforts at a pretense of transparency in the case of an innocent young woman murdered for no reason by overzealous and incompetent police officers.
Richard A. Green, the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, couldn’t contain his disgust with the contents of the report:
“I read this report and have to ask the mayor, the police chief, and the city’s lawyers: Are you kidding? This is what you consider being transparent to taxpayers and the public? At a time when so many are rightfully demanding to know more details about that tragic March evening, I fail to understand this lack of transparency. The public deserves more.”
The three officers involved are on “administrative reassignment” but are still free.
NONE of the @LMPD officers who murdered Breonna Taylor on March 13th have been fired or charged any crimes. They are all being paid as usual.
(L-R) their names are:
Brett Hankison pic.twitter.com/SQQfWcpUXk
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 10, 2020
As the nation begins a very public debate over the role of police in our society and how to best fix the rot of corruption, racism, and authoritarianism at the core of every American police department, the police are going out of their way to prove to us that they have no intention of following through with any “reforms” or change their ways.
The condescending and outrageous disrespect with which the Louisville police prepared this report makes it painfully clear that regulations and guidance aren’t going to end the epidemic of police violence in this country. Only fundamental, top-to-bottom transformation is capable of producing the kind of change that the millions of protesters across the country are calling for with their marches.
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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.