Breonna Taylors Case Ruling and Community Reactions

Ella Olds

194 days and counting without justice. 

Louisville Metro Police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13, 2020. The decision came out 194 days after the shooting, where most still thinks justice has not been served. 

Sept. 23, a Jefferson County Grand Jury indicted a former LMPD (Louisville Metro Police Department) detective Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment and left the other two police officers who were involved that night, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove with no charges. After Hankison was indicted the jury issued a warrant for his arrest with a 15,000 dollar cash bond. 

According to Kentucky legislation, “Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony. 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 substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.” Hankison was charged with the shots fired into Taylor’s neighboring apartment, home to a pregnant woman and her son. 

Nobody was charged for Taylor’s death or the shots fired in her home. 

The decision has brought hurt to the community and continues to have citizens distrusting our officials. Mayor Greg Fischer made a mandatory curfew for three days after the decision was made, citizens have to be home from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., while protests are still suspected to happen.  

Trevor Swearingen, one of the advisors for the multicultural club at Bullitt East was heartbroken over the decision. “I was for sure nervous hearing the results because as a black man I knew my viewpoint may differ from that of my coworkers so I went into the teachers lounge where I could be alone with my work. However, there was no time for me to cry or express emotions afterwards. Later that night, I became very vocal on social media platforms about how this should not have been the decision. I made a post about how being black in America is a whole different thing. I honestly didn’t feel safe at all to go anywhere especially since it is so close to home. The fact that I can literally be arrested or possibly killed by the same police department that did this to Breonna, is absolutely terrifying,” said Swearingen.

Molly Shannon, senior, was not surprised by the ruling but just wishes justice would just be served just once for a person of color. “I was not shocked or surprised by the decision. We’ve seen similar situations happen time and time again. Take a look at Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin, they have yet to receive justice because of the racism in America and the racism within the criminal justice system. Despite not being shocked, I was still disappointed and saddened by the news because I was hoping that maybe for once justice would be served to a person of color,” said Shannon. 

Another advisor of the multicultural club and business teacher, Fay Anderson, feels the same way as Shannon. “I wasn’t really surprised; disappointed but not surprised. I personally feel like many people still don’t understand the fear many black and brown people have when it comes to the justice system being fair to People of Color,” said Anderson. 

Elizabeth Knoop, junior, believes that the final ruling was an injustice. Her brother attended a protest during the start of the protests around June, marching around the LMPD station. Knoop believes that the protests could be effective depending on how the government reacts. “It genuinely baffles me that they have justified her [Breonna Taylor] death. Even if it was an ‘accident’ they should still be punished. It’s sad to see that none of the officers have shown any remorse sincerely. They haven’t even really shown they cared yet, but I hope they eventually will,” said Knoop. 

Anderson also agrees that protests are the way towards change, participating in some herself. “I did participate in two marches over the summer:  Mothers Marching for Breanna Taylor and Greeks Marching for Breanna Taylor. I believe that the protests have brought about awareness but changing the minds and hearts of people will take a lot more time. Reform is a great first step but I also believe that diversity training, acknowledgment of past injustices, and the telling of all history must be addressed too.  Everyone must be intentional about learning about each other and actually listening,” said Anderson.

There are ways we can move toward change. As a teacher, Swearingen has ideas and plans in place to include everybody.In my classroom, I purposely make sure all my content is diverse and that my videos or lectures include minorities of all sorts to show my majority of white students that those who are oppressed are capable of doing things,” said Swearingen.

With a little help from everybody we are capable of change. We are so sorry this happened to you, Breonna. Together, let’s say her name and bring justice to this issue.