Today a grand jury refused to indict the two police officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky last March 13th. A third officer, Brett Hankison, who fired several shots from an adjacent alley into the building was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. Hankinson had been previously terminated by the Department because he fired his weapon without having any target.
At a basic level this was always going to be the outcome of the grand jury. Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker had entered the hallway before the police broke down the door. As the officers entered the house, Kenneth Walker shot and wounded Mattingly, hitting him in the femoral artery. The officers returned fire and Taylor was killed because she was standing next toWalker in the hallway.
The officers were clearly defending themselves after Walker fired on them.
Walker was not charged because Kentucky has castle doctrine. He claims not to have heard the police identify themselves. Walker also says he thought the intruder was Jamarcus Glover, a drug dealer who is at the heart of this case.
This part is simple, but if you back up and ask how things got to this point you discover that the media representation of Breonna Taylor is a simplistic cartoon. It’s also very wrong. She was not a just a good girl caught in the wrong place. She is a lot more complicated than that, as people tend to be.
Four years earlier, in 2016, Breonna Taylor got involved with a twice convicted drug dealer named Jamarcus Glover, 30. He was convicted for drug dealing in 2008 and got a 17 year sentence in Mississippi. Somehow he got out a couple of years later, got convicted a second time, and was released soon again.
Early in the relationship, in 2016, she rented a car for Glover. He in turn gave it to a man named Fernandez Bowman. Bowman was found dead in the car, shot 8 times with several baggies of drugs in the front seat.
Most people would have run away from Glover after that incident. Breonna Taylor was not most people. She stayed with him in one form or another perhaps up to the time of her death. In fact,
Breonna Taylor was a legal enabler for Glover. She had no criminal history and could do things like rent a car, bail him out of jail, hold money, get packages delivered to a clean address, and perhaps more. Both Glover and other inmates kept up a stream of conversations with her from jail.
Why did she do this? Who knows. To some degree Breonna Taylor’s perspective on her relationship with Glover may have been affected by her father. He is a former drug dealer who is incarcerated for life for murder of a client who wouldn’t pay his bill.
So the police had strong reasons to consider her an adjunct to Glover. The idea that she stored either drugs or money was not in any way far fetched. She was not an innocent.
The media got this wrong from the beginning. She was not killed in bed. There was a real reason for the police to search her apartment. Jamarcus Glover was constantly coming over to her apartment. Her car was seen numerous times at Glover’s trap houses. These were abandoned houses where he sold drugs. Sometimes she was in the car and sometimes he was.
She was not turning her life around with a new boyfriend. Kenneth Walker her “new” boyfriend is not new. He was her boyfriend off and on for longer than Glover.
Recently, the New York Times wrote an article that attempts to provide a clearer picture of these details. The article still tries to rehabilitate her as much as it can, but its hard because her actions cover years of events. She may not have been a drug dealer, but she was associated in one way or another with the trade.
Unlike most of the BLM martyrs, Breonna Taylor did not have a criminal record, and was not killed in the process of committing a crime. In a larger sense, however, like other BLM martyrs, Breonna Taylor’s own actions over a long period of time led to her death. When your rental car comes back with a dead body and drugs in it, that should be a clear signal to get out. She did not, and in the end her life choices brought those cops to the door for a late night altercation that ended with her untimely death.