By Bradford Mason
The decision to not indict the three white police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor sent shockwaves around the nation and New Jerseyans let their voices be heard.
Like other cities across the nation, the Garden State is seeing several demonstrations in reaction to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision over the case involving Taylors killing. In March, Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers who entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, executing a search warrant. Officers knocked before forcefully entering the apartment.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, believed the officers were intruders and fired his weapon. The officers fired over 20 shots in turn. Taylor was shot six times killing her. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that only one officer was being charged with wanton endangerment for firing his weapon but not for killing Taylor.
“The loss of Ms. Breonna Taylor’s life is a tragedy, and our office has worked tirelessly since receiving the case in mid-May to review all of the evidence in preparation for presenting it to an independent Grand Jury,” said Cameron. “The Grand Jury determined that there is no evidence to support a criminal violation of state law caused Ms. Taylor’s death. The Grand Jury found that there was sufficient evidence to indict Detective Hankison for wanton endangerment for firing his weapon outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, with some bullets traveling through that apartment and entering the apartment next door while three residents were at home.”
In Newark, demonstrators took to the streets to voice their outrage on Thursday. A reported 200 people gathered in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln outside the Essex County Historic Courthouse. The rally was organized by the People’s Organization for Progress (P.O.P.).
“Neither the 12 million dollars, nor the minor indictment of Wanton Endangerment of only one officer in that slaughter, come anywhere near the justice the world and the family is calling for in this horrific case,” said activist Lawrence Hamm.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka also spoke at the rally and said in statement that the grand jury’s decision is a failure of the justice system. The FBI is investigating the case to see if federal law was violated in Taylor’s death.
“At this critical time, transparency and accountability is what we must fight for as well as the end to the brazen and callous mass murders of people of color,” he said. “We need real police reform that includes the abolishment of qualified immunity for once and for all. I write today to seek that New Jersey make history and establish smart policies that protect all New Jersey residents.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also slammed the decision by the grand jury not to charge the officers.
“Breonna Taylor should never have been killed, let alone in her own home. She should be alive today,” Murphy said on social media. “Today’s action brings no accountability and falls short of the justice that Breonna and countless other Black Americans deserve.”
Along with Newark, demonstrations for Taylor were also held in Teaneck, Jersey City and Wayne.