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Movement for Black Lives Statement on Announcement of Meaningless Indictment in the Murder of Breonna Taylor

Statement by the Movement for Black Lives after the Attorney General of Kentucky announced a meaningless indictment of first degree wanton endangerment against one of the three police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her home on March 13.

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UltraViolet,

The Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement after the Attorney General of Kentucky announced a meaningless indictment of first degree wanton endangerment against one of the three police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her home on the night of March 13, 2020. Wanton endangerment, a low-level felony, is a charge often used in accidental injuries and implies minimal responsibility for the death or injury.

“The Movement for Black Lives and our millions of supporters around the globe stand with the family and community of Breonna Taylor in light of today’s toothless and gravely insufficient indictment brought against one of the officers who killed her. Alongside her community, we are outraged and prepared to activate our base to continue to organize for meaningful action for Breonna. 

“Even though three officers have Breonna’s blood on their hands, only one was charged, and with three counts of first degree wanton endangerment, a class D felony implying a low-level of responsibility for the death or injury. This charge is connected to shooting into the neighboring apartment unit, but not the murder of Breonna Taylor. To be sure, a wall — an inanimate object– has received more justice than Breonna Taylor did today. 

“This indictment is another clear and egregious reminder that the criminal-legal system in Louisville – and in this country – does not value Black people or see us as deserving of protection from those who’ve taken an oath to ‘protect and serve.’   

“For months, millions of outraged people in every state have called for all three officers responsible for Breonna’s murder to be fired, arrested, and charged with murder. Today’s paltry announcement is a grave miscarriage of justice — just like those in the cases of Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, Terrence Crutcher, and countless others. 

“This decision, which was handed down 41 days before the most critical election in U.S. modern history, is intended to enable state-sanctioned violence against all Black communities and to obstruct people from asserting their first amendment right to protest.

“The Kentucky Attorney General shared his insufficient and faulty rationale for this decision during a press conference, condescending to a community that has been here countless times before. We know that Grand Juries indict 99.9 percent of the time, meaning prosecutors have tremendous power in what they choose to present. When Grand Juries do not indict, it is often because of a lack of will on the part of the state. To date, there have been no systemic changes in light of Breonna’s killing. The changes around no-knock warrants passed as part of Breonna’s Law do not cover the majority of warrants that result in unnecessary surprise invasions into people’s homes, and the commitment in the settlement to policy reform does not make substantive changes. 

“We will continue fighting to hold all three officers who killed Breonna accountable, to defund the Louisville police department and re-envision what public safety looks like in our country. We won’t stop until ALL Black people can live and thrive without fear of harm from the state. 

“We’re calling for all those who stand in defense of Black lives to support organizations in Louisville as they continue to mobilize people in this moment. If you’re able, send donations to:

Louisville Community Bail Fund:  bit.ly/LouCommBailFund

BLM General Fund: bit.ly/BLMLou

Anti Eviction Fund: bit.ly/evictionfund

Healing for Louisville: bit.ly/502healing

The six local demands are crystal clear: 

  1. Immediately fire and revoke the pensions of the officers that murdered Breonna. 
  2. Divest from LMPD and Invest in community building.
  3. The immediate resignation (or impeachment) of Mayor Greg Fischer. 
  4. Metro Council ends use of force by Louisville Metro Police Department. 
    1. Police shootings are gun violence.
  5. A local, civilian community police accountability council that is independent from the Mayor’s Office and LMPD with investigation and discipline power #CPAC.
  6. The creation of policy to ensure transparent investigation processes. 

“As we support our comrades in Louisville, we remain committed to the introduction and success of the BREATHE Act, the 21st century federal civil rights bill that divests from the harms of the criminal-legal system and invests in safe, healthy, and equitable communities. While today was another devastating day for those of us who believe in justice, and particularly for Breonna Taylor’s family and the families of others we’ve lost to state violence, they are not alone. 

The Movement for Black Lives will continue to carry Breonna with us as we march forward in pursuit of the justice we all deserve.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.