One officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing was indicted by a grand jury in Kentucky on Wednesday, while two others won’t face charges. The decision lit up social media as celebrities expressed disappointment and offered condolences to Taylor’s family.
Former Louisville police Detective Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets fired into a neighboring apartment. None of the charges stem from her death. The two other officers involved, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were cleared as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said they were “justified” in using deadly force because they were allegedly fired upon first by Taylor’s boyfriend. Cameron preemptively acknowledged that celebrities and others would be upset with the outcome.
“There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do, but they don’t,” he said. “Let’s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.”
Viola Davis was among the stars who bluntly called the decision “bulls***” — and the Oscar winner’s not alone.
Bulls--- decision!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times. https://t.co/HOrDQzHJ0d— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 23, 2020
Kentucky native George Clooney said he’s “ashamed of this decision.”
“I was born and raised in Kentucky. Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month. The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions,” Clooney said in a statement. “Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong. I’m ashamed of this decision.”
Black-ish star Yara Shahidi highlighted how “insulting” it is that no officers were directly charged with Taylor’s death.
What is most insulting is that the recommended charges aren't even in response to the MURDER of Breonna Taylor, but to the POTENTIAL injury of other people in the apartment.....— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) September 23, 2020
'No knock warrants' feels analogous to the experience of being Black in America ... The unsolicited intrusion of racism and violence dealt with on a daily basis ...— Yara shahidi (@YaraShahidi) September 23, 2020
“The state of Kentucky deemed the lives of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors to be worth more than her own,” added Jemele Hill.
The state of Kentucky deemed the lives of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors to be worth more than her own. Let that sink in.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 23, 2020
“If only the criminal justice system valued Black people as much as drywall,” read a tweet from The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.
Meanwhile, Kerry Washington urged her followers to vote.
Whoever needs this: I understand the desire to not vote. To reject a system that abuses you & denies your worth. But please know that the system - DOES see your worth. It’s AFRAID of your power. That’s why it works so hard to make you feel powerless. You are NOT powerless. Vote!— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 23, 2020
Common, Joy Reid, Sarah Silverman and more also weighed in.
Daniel Cameron just called Breonna Taylor’s death “part of a national story.” No, man. Her death is a robbery. Those officers robbed her of her life. They robbed her family and her boyfriend of their loved one. They robbed Louisville of a first responder. Who elected this man?— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) September 23, 2020
So did you get that? It is legal in the state of Kentucky for police to bust into your home after midnight and shoot you dead in your bed, as long as they aim at you and don’t wantonly shoot and endanger your neighbors. Y’all good with that, Kentucky?— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) September 23, 2020
God bless Breonna’s family and all who knew and loved her. Her tragic death compounded by the violence of silence and inaction by the city she called home is more than any of them should have to endure. https://t.co/fcDmIWHlDS— Ava DuVernay (@ava) September 23, 2020
3 counts of wanton endangerment against one officer. Others not charged. Class D felony (1-5 years) and 15,000.00 bond.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) September 23, 2020
I suffered greater penalties for shoplifting at the Apple store.
He got nothing for the murder. “Country justice”. A sad day. https://t.co/421SZe439G
If only the criminal justice system valued Black people as much as drywall https://t.co/UycSP6BXNJ— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) September 23, 2020
"And part of the rage is this: It isn't only what is happening to you. But it's what's happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance." James Baldwin. pic.twitter.com/UfYwvC7l7c— COMMON (@common) September 23, 2020
#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/eURn5iMQrl— COMMON (@common) September 23, 2020
Please pray for Breonna Taylor’s family and send them strength.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) September 23, 2020
They never get it right and that doesn't make it hurt any less. Breonna Taylor should still be with us and her family deserved justice today. Tired of this shit.— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) September 23, 2020
I would like to know how this judge/jury would feel if their daughter was shot and killed in her home while she slept. Would this look like justice to them? https://t.co/JgshWOEBea— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) September 23, 2020
When I met the mother of #BreonnaTaylor I told her we would continue to seek justice on behalf of her daughter. Today, more than ever my promise remains. #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/hmkPcEdgxH— Dr. Wendy Osefo (@WendyOsefo) September 23, 2020
my heart is broken for the family of Breonna Taylor. once again we’re left with nothing that they try to make seem as something 💔— Ella Mai (@ellamai) September 23, 2020
WANTON ENDANGERMENT?508.060 Wanton endangerment in the first degree.— JoJo. (@iamjojo) September 23, 2020
(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a (cont’d)
WANTON ENDANGERMENT (part 2)— JoJo. (@iamjojo) September 23, 2020
substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.
(2) Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony. Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 70, effective January 1, 1975.
BREONNA TAYLOR. She deserves better. She should be alive. Bare minimum. But since she isn’t- I’m praying for her family. Praying for #LouisvilleKy— JoJo. (@iamjojo) September 23, 2020
wow. this is America.— JoJo. (@iamjojo) September 23, 2020