It wasn’t a shock or a surprise that no police officers were indicted for killing Breonna Taylor in her own home. We knew this would be the outcome. And yet, there’s always that one percent of hope in situations like these. After so much public outcry, marches, publications; one could easily be persuaded to believe that “this time they’ll do the right thing.”
Never mind that prosecutors even offered a plea deal to one of the individuals accused of selling drugs if he would only incriminate Breonna in his drug trade. The man refused. If anything, that only indicated that their case was weak and that they were cowardly trying to ruin Breonna’s reputation after her death as they do with so many black victims. We thought, well, maybe this time they’ll do the right thing.
They didn’t. We knew they wouldn’t.
As many have pointed out, the system is not broken, it’s working exactly as it has been designed. From qualified immunity to a number of SCOTUS decisions that essentially protect police officers from being held liable for killing civilians in their own homes, the system is stacked against the people.
That’s why we need to re-imagine what policing looks like. That’s why we need to divest more funds into programs that make communities safer. That’s why many non-emergency calls should be handled by mental health professionals or social workers.
None of these measures would have saved Breonna Taylor’s life, unfortunately. Until police officers who murder innocent people are held accountable and until the entire system is re-worked, re-imagined and re-built, they will be more Breonna Taylors.
The gut-reactionaries will read these words and immediately claim that I’m anti-police. I suppose that it’s easier to dismiss my arguments as “anti” something because they don’t have to examine their own biases and flawed arguments. For the record, I’m not anti-police, I’m anti-police brutality. I’m against people not being held accountable for their actions, regardless of whether they wear a badge or not.
Being a police officer is a dangerous job. No doubt. But you can just quit if you wanted to. Being a black person in America is an even more dangerous situation; one that has no off-clock, no qualified immunity and one that can’t even protect you in your own home from armed people breaking in.
Breonna Taylor deserved justice. The system failed her, but let’s work together to make a better system so that if we can’t prevent the next Breonna Taylor, at least we can bring her killers to justice.