Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Kentucky AG Is Not Fit For the Fight

The good news is the city of Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to Breonna Taylor’s family. It’s the largest wrongful death payment ever against the Louisville Metro Police Department. Taylor’s family and loved ones deserve it! Nobody would argue that after learning about how and why she was killed. Yet, the civil case award could be bad news for the criminal case. Keep reading to understand how.

She was killed in March 2020. Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel J. Cameron appointed himself special prosecutor back in June. Since then he claims to have been conducting a thorough investigation. Instead he stalled the case.

Ninety-nine percent of us know the story. For the one percent who don’t know here’s a recap: Louisville police lied to a judge to get approval for a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s residence. Taylor was not the target of the warrant. The person who was the target – her ex boyfriend – already had been arrested across town. But these bully, liar, killer cops showed up at Taylor’s residence anyway and broke down the door.

Police claimed they announced themselves as cops. Neighbors said they didn’t. Some of those neighbors and Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker who was at home with her, called police about the break-in. Walker shot at the people coming through the door. He’s licensed to carry a weapon and used it to legally defend himself and Taylor. Police unloaded a barrage of bullets into the apartment on the way in shooting Taylor. One of the cops stationed outside blindly shot into Taylor’s apartment. Some of his bullets were found in neighboring apartments where other innocent people could have died. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of police – who didn’t announce themselves. Nobody offered Taylor medical assistance that might have saved her life. And that’s why Taylor’s family deserves the settlement money.

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daniel-cameron
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

But there’s more to the story that makes Taylor’s murder even more egregious. Taylor’s boyfriend called her mom before he was arrested. When Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, showed up at the scene she was given the runaround about where her daughter was. Police sent her to a hospital telling her Breonna was there, knowing she wasn’t. After an hour, Palmer came back to the scene and that’s when police asked her about any domestic violence issues between her Breonna and her boyfriend. They tried to get her to make a statement that could later be used to blame Walker for Breonna’s death!

Of the officers involved in Taylor’s murder and subsequent cover-up none of them has been charged with a crime. Only one of them – the one who stood outside and blindly shot into her apartment – has been fired. The others are still getting paid for the legalized genocide of Black people. We should demand the system to dish out fair punishment to bully, liar, killer cops the same as it does for everyone else.

That’s where Attorney General Cameron should have stepped in. The aforementioned details are enough evidence for charges already to have been filed. Any other attorney general with a backbone would have done so already. Dan Cameron has no backbone. He’s afraid to bring charges against police, because they helped get him elected. He thanked the Fraternal Order of Police in his acceptance speech when he was elected to the AG position last year. The FOP has Cameron in their back pocket. They own him!

For three months Cameron claimed he had been conducting a thorough investigation of Taylor’s case. It was a stall tactic. He had hoped he could take control of the investigation and never file charges against the police involved. But then George Floyd’s modern-day lynching video sparked world-wide protests and brought attention to Taylor’s case.

That’s when Cameron realized the case wouldn’t go away because all eyes are on Louisville! Even though Taylor’s family deserves the $12 million settlement, the civil case could compromise the criminal case.

Typically the criminal case is decided first. The civil case is decided later. Since the money already has been awarded the grand jury might not feel obligated to indict Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove or now fired officer Brett Hankinson. Criminal justice is different than civil justice. We want both

Even though they are not supposed to act on emotion when it comes to the law, the grand jury might feel as if criminal indictments against police and civil justice is too much justice for one case! Also, the attorney general can sway the grand jury’s decision based on how and what evidence he presents. It doesn’t look good for criminal prosecution. I know it and people in Louisville know it. That’s why federal buildings in the city have been boarded up and are closed for business this week in anticipation of what’s to come.

Daniel Cameron is not fit for the fight we as Black people in America are engaged in against bully, liar, killer cops! He claimed to be for law and order, but when it comes to holding crooked cops accountable, he doesn’t have the guts for it. He’s not fit to be attorney general.

Steffanie Rivers - screenshot
Steffanie Rivers

Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with comments, questions or speaking inquiries. Friend her on Facebook.com/StefanieRivers.  Follow her on Twitter @tcbstef and on Instagram @tcbstef

 

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