Murphy slams decision not to charge cops in Breonna Taylor death
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday night weighed in on a Kentucky police shooting that rose to national prominence this summer amid a movement against racism and police violence.
“Breonna Taylor should never have been killed, let alone in her own home. She should be alive today,” Murphy said while sharing an illustration on Twitter with the words “Justice for Breonna.”
“Today’s action brings no accountability and falls short of the justice that Breonna and countless other Black Americans deserve,” he said.
The statement came hours after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for the killing of Taylor during a drug raid gone wrong, with prosecutors saying Wednesday that two officers who fired their weapons at the Black woman were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire.
The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor's that had people in it. The FBI is still investigating potential violations of federal law in connection with the raid at Taylor's home on the night of March 13.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Taylor's family, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” marched through the streets.
Scuffles have broken out between police and protesters, and some were arrested. Officers in riot gear fired flash bangs and a few small fires burned in a square that's been at the center of protests, but it had largely cleared out ahead of a nighttime curfew and demonstrators marched through other parts of downtown Louisville. Dozens of police cars blocked the city’s major thoroughfare.
Demonstrators also marched in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home on a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, however, said the investigation showed the officers announced themselves before entering. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor’s case became a major touchstone for nationwide protests that have drawn attention to entrenched racism and demanded police reform. Taylor’s image has been painted on streets, emblazoned on protest signs and silk-screened on T-shirts worn by celebrities. Several prominent African American celebrities joined those urging that the officers be charged.
In New Jersey, meanwhile, family and friends of Hasani Best on Wednesday called on authorities to bring criminal charges against police officers involved in his fatal shooting last month.
Best, 39, was killed in Asbury Park after police responded to a domestic dispute. He was shot after he refused to relinquish a knife he was holding. Bodycam video was released Tuesday.
“He didn’t deserve it,” said Carol Sanders, Best’s mother as she blinked back tears and dabbed at her eyes during a news conference across the street from police headquarters.
“He was talking to them and explaining his hurt, his feelings,” she said. “They didn't have to take his life. They shot him in his chest."
Best, who was known to officers from previous encounters, had barricaded himself in a room in his apartment after police responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute. Several officers spent about 45 minutes trying to convince him to come out and drop the knife.
Finally, Best emerged partway and stood in the doorway, looked at one of the officers and said, “I’m going to stab him,” though Best was standing still at the time. Police Sgt. Sean DeShader immediately fired from about 6 feet away, knocking Best back into the room. He died at a hospital about 20 minutes later.
Includes material Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press.