Editor’s Note: The following is a response by the National Bar Association to the Kentucky Attorney General’s decision in the Breonna Taylor case.
Not only was justice not served, the desultory and insufficient result we received was also unacceptably slow in manifesting. It has been over six months since Breonna Taylor’s innocent life was senselessly taken at the hands of careless, negligent, and indifferent law enforcement officials sworn to protect and serve her.
As officers of the court that take our oaths and hold our bar licenses in high regard, we urge our families and friends of color around us to place faith in the justice system within which we work, pointing out that the system needs our participation if it is ever going to bring forth the results we deem to be just.
However, when headline after headline consistently supports the theory we so desperately want to disprove, it’s beginning to become more and more difficult to make the case that Black lives matter to anyone but us.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s vow to “vigorously prosecute” Brett Hankison, the sole Louisville police officer criminally charged with three counts of wanton endangerment of the first-degree as a result of Taylor’s death, falls on deaf and enraged ears. Taylor was a completely innocent woman, sleeping in her own home when she was killed by Louisville police attempting a no-knock search warrant.
How much clearer do the facts have to be for public officials on the ground to take appropriate and just action without public unrest and protest!
While we will certainly continue to use our voices, admittedly it is frustrating that it is even necessary given how egregious and outrageous these facts are.
NBA Vice President for Regions and Affiliates Lonita Baker is lead counsel representing Taylor’s family and was quoted today, stating, “This is the most absurd legal maneuvering that I have ever seen. If his [ex-officer Brett Hankison] behavior was wanton to those in neighboring apartments it was likewise wanton to Breonna and Kenny.
He should have been charged with wanton murder and another count of wanton endangerment. To add insult to injury, an indictment for wanton endangerment was returned for Breonna’s White neighbors but none for her Black neighbors that also had gunshots from the police entering their home. This is another example of the devaluing of Black lives.”
We stand in solidarity with Lonita, her co-counsel NBA Former President Ben Crump, their legal team, and Taylor’s family, and pledge the support of the National Bar Association in an effort to bring about honorable justice for Breonna and her family. May our precious Angel Breonna continue to Rest in Peace.
The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges.