The death of Breoona Taylor and a story of a battle within the Grand Jury for Justice.
On October 08, 2020, Vice President Pence was asked a question during the Presidential debate about the death of Breoona Taylor. He replied that Taylor’s death was a tragedy, but he believes in due process of law. The vice President’s answer fits most when the question is regarding charging Police for killings even if unarmed suspects.
The Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made his presentation to the grand jury that the officers were fired upon. They defended themselves and were legally allowed to return fire. The officers were in plainclothes and stated that they called out multiple times police officers for several minutes.
Officer Brett Hankison fired ten shots while not seeing anyone, and he was later fired for this. He was the only officer charged but not for the death of Taylor. These were the basic facts that made Attorney-General Cameron dismiss criminal charges against all of the officers for Taylor’s death. Leaving her family and supporters with it a tragic results of Policing.
In Louisville, KY. the community responded with more than one hundred days of protests and a nationwide outcry. The FBI investigation is still ongoing into her death and Taylor’s civil rights.
The warrant question: was it a no-knock or not?
The story of Breoona Taylor begins with a set of warrants for a drug search that was based on false statements and poor communications. A racial bias compounded it Breoona Taylor was labeled as a “drug dealer girl”; her home was seen as a drop spot for her ex-boyfriend. (Jamarcus Glover)
Jamarcus Glover, The ex-boyfriend of Breoona Taylor, had a criminal history as a drug trafficker wanted as a fugitive and was the subject of the original warrant. The Grand Jury was provided the warrant’s history as not being a no-knock type. Still, Attorney General Cameron claimed the action was not as a no-knock warrant. Cameron reported the officers declared themselves as the Police. The investigation into the origin of the warrant requested was flawed in the warrant’s statement, and the Postal Inspectors found no drugs shipped to her home.
The twelve witnesses that were interviewed reported that they never heard the Police announce themselves. The one witness needed to be questioned three times before confirming he heard Police called out before the door was breached.
Kenneth Walker Taylor’s boyfriend did fire his 9 mm. Glock pistol. Attorney-General Cameron claimed that this gave the officers the justification for returning fire.
The Kentucky State Police were never able to connect the bullet from Walker’s gun to the wounded officer. There was no test for residue on officers Mattingly’s clothing, and there were no drugs, guns, or money found in her home. Officer Hankinson claimed that he felt the other officers were ambushed with an AR-15 rifle; actually, he saw the two officers’ muzzle flash. The Grand Jury was never given an option to indict the officer since Walker fired first.
The Attorney General did not provide a range of charges from murder to manslaughter based on the many flaws.Two Jurors that have requested to speak out because of the case presented by the Attorney General.
The Attorney for the two jurors has requested that both jurors be allowed to speak out, which has community support. The Attorney General has told the Judge hearing the case that this must be denied based on the grand jury’s history. If the Judge does not grant this, then Cameron is requesting an
appeal for more time.
The Juror’s Lawyer stated that both have questions about the Department of Public Integrity Unit file that withheld evidence from the Grand Jury. Kevin Glogower, the Lawyer for the jurors, has claimed gaps in what evidence was provided by the Attorney General and the Louisville Metro Police.
Attorney-General Cameron feared the reaction to presenting a case that the Grand Jury would use to indict Officers Cosgrove and Mattingly. But knowing that juries acquit Police officers more than 90% of the cases. He also is a Republican supported by Senator Mitch McConnell in an election year for him. The Attorney General himself will face re-election, knowing the local Police union will suspect him for putting a Police officer on trial. For a standard Policing action of serving a warrant even if the death of a potential suspect occurs.
Julian Betton, April 16, 2015, was in his home in the middle of the day when armed Police officers broke down his door while calling Police and fired more than 20 times. Betton was shot nine times and leaving him Paralyzed. He had a gun but reacted as Kenneth Walker did but never fired. There were no drugs found, and none of the Police were charged in the case.Like Breoona Taylor, Julian Betton was Black, and the Prosecutor viewed the shooting as not a criminal act.
The warrant claimed Betton’s home, like Taylor’s, was viewed as a “soft target” but was highly assaulted by officers.
The warrants’ documents had no specific proof of drugs or weapons. Still, the officers were concerned that they would have destroyed them before entry. Because the warrant was not a no-knock originally Taylor, could have been called by phone and told to come out with hands up.
Attorney-General Cameron, unlike most special Prosecutors, could give the Grand Jurors the option to charge the officers for mishandling the case.
The problem with a Prosecutor presenting evidence leading to a police officers’ indictment is developing a partnership with Police.The Prosecutor’s bias that he does not have clear evidence that will result in a conviction determines the charges given to the Grand Jury.
There is also a need for the public to know that prosecuting Police misconduct will help prevent future deaths. Grand Juries and jurors need to understand when Police do not follow the law; the badge will not protect them because society needs them. The Prosecutor can determine how long it takes to complete the case to present to the Grand Jury. Make notifications to the family to view the dead family member’s body and request evidence by the internal affairs unit. Breoona Taylors’ body was left in the hallway for hours after being killed and never noted in the officer’s report.
The Louisville Police PIU reported that the crime scene had poor documentation of who accessed the crime scene’s ballistics.
The chief of Police reassigned the Detective who applied for the original warrant. Judge Mary Shaw, who signed the warrant she accused Detective Joshua Jaynes of lying. Jamarcus Glover never received a package that contained drugs at her address, which was based on the warrant.
Following the death of Breoona Taylor, there were several attempts to provide justification for the raid at her home.
The Jefferson County D.A. Tom Wine offered a draft to Glover where Breoona Taylor would be named a member of his crime syndicate, but Glover rejected it. Prosecutors in the U.S. are reluctant to prosecute police cases even with unarmed victims, a common issue in the Justice system. The Police are protected by the “blue wall” of the Police system of internal affairs and the Grand Jury, which will allow an officer to appear before them and give testimony.
But a Defendant is not allowed to appear even with Counsel. The Internal Affairs offices submit their investigation in an Ad Hoc manner.
The need for an Independent Counsel: The Pros and Cons. The use of a special Prosecutor can serve to supersede a local D.A. In cases where https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/specpro.pdfdeadly force is used by a Police officer, this is often a Special Counsel not connected to the regional office. Depending on the state law, The Attorney General can appoint a Special Counsel if the D.A. is not judicially managing the case. This can result in Progressive Prosecutor being removed. Only the state of Connecticut requires a Special Prosecutor for all deadly force cases. Currently, in Connecticut, state’s attorneys investigate police use of deadly force and deaths in their custody, a system that has resulted in just one criminal charge — out of 76 investigations — since 2001. That charge did not ultimately result in a conviction.
Black people have been 28% of those killed by Police in 2020 despite only 13% of the population.
A CURRENT HISTORY OF FAILURE TO
The systemic failure to Prosecute Police officers for the killing of people is also found in even those outspoken about racial injustice. Kamala Harris, current running mate of Vice President Biden, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have raised questions about Systemic Racism and Policing. However, as Attorney General, Harris faced protests in her failure to charge Police in the death of two black men Mario Woods and Ezell Ford. Activists in California accused her of failing to act on these cases and others.In both cases, there were financial settlements, but the officers were cleared of any criminal charges. Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Senator from Minnesota, was the District Attorney for Hennepin County. Still, in a case where Police killed a Black man with a “choke-hold method,” Klobuchar declined to Prosecute them for his death.
Christopher Burns was killed following a domestic argument.
The Coroner ruled Burns’ death a homicide. The city would pay a 300,00 dollar settlement to his family The Hennepin County medical examiner. During her time as District Attorney, Amy Klobuchar declined to Prosecute more than two dozen cases where Police killed people.
Although both verbally committed to ending systemic Racism and policing, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar reveal that the blue wall’s connection is an ingrained problem for Prosecutors.
Daniel Prude was killed on 3/23/20, resulting from “complications of asphyxia in the setting of “physical restraint.” His death was ruled as a homicide due to excessive force.
The District Attorney Sandra Doorley turned the case over to the New York Attorney General because it was an unarmed suspect. The police officers were not charged even though the grand jury has been reviewing the case since March.
The Mayor of Rochester, Lovely Warren, fired the Police chief who initially reported the death as a “drug overdose.” A video of the full encounter was not released until
August 22 by the Police to his family. The death of Daniel Prude was more than three months before George Floyd.
On August 28, 2019, the District Attorney of Aurora, CO . cleared three Police officers in the death of Elijah McClain, who was put in a choke-hold by Aurora Police and later died from Cardiac arrest.
The District Attorney Dave Young claimed that nothing was criminal because the Autopsy could not determine if the officers’ actions were the cause of death.
There was public outcry with this decision. The city brought in a special Prosecutor Eric Daigle, a former Police officer, and Lawyer, to manage the case. But he was removed based on his history of consulting to Police organization on excessive force issues. (fn#https://dllearningcenter.com)
Eventually, a petition had to be sent to the Governor to assign a Special Prosecutor for the case. The Attorney General was given the assignment, but the Police were not changed since this investigation began.
The battle of charging the Police when they kill people in America.
There have been recent actions where a new group of progressive Prosecutors had brought charges against the Police. Still, the push back was violent and severe in these cases.
Kim Gardner, Special Prosecutor in ST.Louis, MO., has spent her time in office facing retaliation by Police. Her car was stopped several times, threats on Facebook, and the head of the FOP sued her and threatened her.She was attacked for writing a report about the city’s history of Racism and exposed racist remarks made by Police officers. Members of the St.Louis Police department threatened to have her removed by force on social media; a state-appointed Special Prosecutor joined the Police union to remove her from office. Gardner was forced to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the ST.Louis Police and Police union for a racist conspiracy against her. She supported the Ethical Society of Police organization and the Black officers.
. They were shot and beaten by their white fellow officers. She documented the violence of cases like the beating of Luther Hall, a Black undercover officer, by fellow officers. On January 24, a 24-year-old woman, Police officer Katlyn Alix was killed while playing Russian roulette with Nathaniel Hendren, a fellow officer. The Police department claimed it was an accidental shooting. Still, Prosecutor Kim Gardner was blocked from receiving evidence and accused of abusing her position as Prosecutor. Prosecutor Kim Gardner was barred from receiving evidence and charged with using her appointment as Prosecutor.
Gardner refused to back down to the Police’s blue wall: the union and Hendren’s lawyers who threatened to sue her. Gardner was unable to get warrants for lab tests, and the Police department claimed the death was an accidental shooting. But Hendren was one of many officers that had committed crimes while on duty. Four were facing federal charges, and two off duty officers shot a man in a bar. Gardner accused the Police of obstruction of Justice. In April 2019, Hendren pleaded not guilty to the charges but recently reached a plea deal with Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office. Hendren was sentenced to seven years in prison.
KIM GARDNER, MARILYN MOSBY and RACHAEL ROLLINS: Three Women of color battle for Justice against the “blue wall.”
A new wave of Prosecutors has distanced themselves and broken with the blue wall. They think that They must answer the public and hold the Police accountable when crimes are committed. The new wave of Prosecutors is connected to the community and wants to voice those incarcerated. These prosecutors are scanning the cases that were closed involving Police for criminal actions that resulted in deaths.
Kim Gardner and Police Chief John Hayden had been in a battle because of an” exclusion list” of lying officers that will not be used in court. Those officers on the list (28) were accused of lacking credibility, and their cases faced being dropped.The Police union Business Manager Jeff Roorda complained that Gardner did not have the right to discredit the Police officers in this manner.
In 2017 Gardner Prosecuted the former officer Jason Stockey for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, who was killed in 2011. Stockey was found not guilty, the family of Smith was paid for a wrongful death suit. Stockey sued the former St.Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and Kirk Deeken in Federal court. Still, it was overturned based on qualified immunity. Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore in 2015, began to Prosecute the Police in the Freddie Gray case without going to the Grand Jury and charged six officers with the death. In law enforcement, an action seldom seen regarding charging of Police and the end of a person of color.
The Black lives movement supported Mosby, and the trial began within a year.
The “blue wall of the Police attacked her ability as a Prosecutor, and those charged were acquitted while others eventually had the charges dropped; an officer sued her for “malicious Prosecution.
The Judge upheld the suit and opened her to being sued in another case and the Freddie Gray case. It also would force her to turn off her emails about the issue and make her susceptible to multiple lawsuits by organized crime and Police.
The U.S.District Judge Marvin J. Garbis made this decision based on the Freddie Gray case, but the Fraternal Order of Police pushed him. They viewed her actions as beyond her power as States Attorney, and to many, there were racial and sexist implications.
On May 7, 2018, the Federal appeals court blocked the suit against the States Attorney and removed the malicious prosecution order. Lt Gene Ryan of the Baltimore Police Union claimed Mosby abused her power in charging six officers. Mosby responded that she could not trust the Police to execute warrants on fellow officers.
Rachael Rollins, the District Attorney of Suffolk County (Boston, MA. ), created a database of dishonest current and ex. Officers who were involved in an overtime scam. Like Mosby and Gardner, Rollins faced the blue walls push back by the local Police union.
The local social change groups also demanded she reopens Police justified shootings by the Grand Jury in two men Terrence Coleman and Usaamah Rahim.
Rachael Rollins has faced criticism from Governor Charlie Bakers’ secretary of public safety, Thomas Turco III, who sent an angry letter to Rollins. Her policy of not prosecuting drug dealing and resisting arrest, shoplifting, and trespassing put the public at risk with a complaint about her approach. But this was inspired by the Boston Police union. She also responded that she was disrespected because she is a woman and spoke up and pushed back.
She was facing ten murders and Police involved shootings. Simultaneously, the blue wall supporters like a former D.A. Michael O’Keefe claimed she was not a “professional Prosecutor.” Her office has had 19 District Attorney’s resign, and recently four more have left the office. Rollins has created a “do not use “list of Officers, including those who have retired, including the State Police head.
Richard Mckeon was found responsible for scrubbing the record of a judge’s daughter arrested for drug trafficking.
Officer Leigha Genduso was part of a drug ring before joining the State Police and was forced to resign. It was added to the database with 70 other officers. The State Police Association protested the databases use.
The growing movement for Justice between Prosecutors and the needs of the community .The Attorney General of the United States William Barr warned that District Attorney’s like Rachael Rollins, Marilyn Mosby, and Kim Gardner are social justice reformers. Out to endanger and demoralize the members of law enforcement. They are a danger to public safety in communities. Barr fails to accept that the people in their communities face arrest, incarceration, and death at the hands of the Police and violence.
The city uses the vote’s power, where Prosecutors are now expected to make the blue wall accountable.
The blue wall made up of the grand jury, Police, Police union, and judges are being challenged for Justice under the law.
The new wave of District Attorney’s is requesting Special Prosecutors to interact in cases where deadly force is used for unarmed suspects. But it is also causing political push back where some State Attorney Generals have taken the issues away from progressive Prosecutors.
The Judge in the Grand Jurors’ request to speak informed the Attorney General of Kentucky, David Cameron, that the members of the Grand Jury they could speak out. The Juror, in a written statement, stated the Jurors were told they could not charge the two officers because the case could not stick. Still, the Jurors challenged Cameron about her boyfriend’s self-defense firing, but this was not explained.
The family of Breoona Taylor is asking for a new Grand Jury hearing regarding her death with the Attorney General Cameron excluded.The American Justice system is at a crossroads where the public demands that prosecutors have less coexistence with law enforcement. The new wave of Prosecutors is ready to step into this role as Rachael Rollins stated: ‘No more apologies. No more words. Demand action. Radical change now. Nothing less.”
The 21St Century Prosecutors and the social injustice movement to improve America.
The new movement by elected Prosecutors is working to reduce the working relationship with Local Police departments when it conflicts with public confidence. Investigators cannot have a reliance on the law enforcement agency under investigation.
The Police department must provide transparency on officers with misconduct charges.
All evidence produced by video and dashcams must be released to all officers involved in shootings.
There must be a development of an external advisory group to make recommendations before a charging decision.
The 21St Century Prosecution supports a second look review by the State Attorney General office or an Independent Prosecutors when there is no decision for criminal charges.