Louisville Kentucky erupted in violence after the announcement on September 23rd of a grand jury’s decision to clear three police officers of any homicide charges for the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a young African-American medical worker. The shooting occurred on March 13, 2020 in her home as the police officers were executing a warrant in the course of a narcotics investigation. One of the officers, no longer with the police department, was indicted Wednesday on felony charges of wanton endangerment after shooting into an apartment next door to Breonna Taylor’s home.
During the ensuing melee in Louisville, two police officers were shot and wounded. Larynzo Johnson has been charged in the shooting of the officers, whose injuries are non-life-threatening. Johnson, who is black, is said to have been part of a group of demonstrators who had set fires and would not disperse when told to do so by the police. There have been additional reports of injuries to other police officers as well.
Agitators marching through the streets were heard threatening arson if their demands for justice were not satisfied. “If we didn’t get it, burn it down!” they chanted. Twitter, which regularly censors conservative posts including some posts by President Trump, gave a green light to tweets inciting rioters to “burn down” Louisville. The rioters obliged as fires were started in downtown Louisville.
Demonstrations in other cities to protest the grand jury decision were mostly peaceful. However, rioters in Portland Oregon were true to form. They broke windows, vandalized and lit fires to the Justice Center, and threw Molotov cocktails towards officers.
Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron, an African-American, tried to explain why there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a homicide indictment during a news conference he held following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision. He called for calm, while acknowledging the grief that Breonna Taylor’s death had caused for so many people.
“The decision before my office is not to decide if the loss of Breonna Taylor’s life was a tragedy — the answer to that question is unequivocally yes,” Attorney General Cameron said. “If we simply act on outrage, there is no justice — mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”
A federal investigation of possible civil rights charges against the officers is still underway. But “mob justice” and “revenge” are all that leftist firebrands, bent on destroying America’s institutions, want. They disdain facts, reason and respect for due process.
The evidence in the case refuted earlier incorrect reports that the officers, with a no-knock warrant in hand, had not announced themselves before entering Taylor’s apartment. They did announce themselves, according to an independent witness, as required by the “knock and announce” warrant they were carrying out. The evidence presented to the grand jury also indicated that the officers discharged their firearms in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend shot and wounded one of the officers.
Attorney General Cameron warned about the “celebrities, influencers, and activists” who “would try to tell us how to feel suggesting they understand the facts of this case.” His warning fell on deaf ears. Facts and respect for due process mean nothing to the radical left, which set out to exploit the tragedy from the get-go.
Marxist Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza said on Wednesday that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s remarks amounted to “a Bull Connor speech in 2020,” referring to the notorious segregationist who used police dogs and fire hoses to quell civil rights demonstrations in the 1960’s. Garza helped to light the fires in Louisville with her incendiary remarks and blatant appeals to raw emotions.
BLM Louisville tweeted, “Those that don’t know justice cannot weld [sic] justice!” It branded the police as the “vigilantes for the state.” It wasn’t much of a leap for the mob justice crowd to take the law in their own hands and for one of them to shoot two of the “vigilantes for the state.” BLM Louisville has demanded not only the abolition of the police. BLM agitators also threatened local shopkeepers and restaurant owners in Louisville earlier this year with harm to their businesses if they did not accede to a list of BLM demands.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which no longer stands for American values or liberties, has given cover to mob justice by delegitimizing America’s legal system without any knowledge of the evidence that the grand jury considered. The ACLU tweeted, “This is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core.”
Adding his own fuel to the fire, Socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders tweeted, “This result is a disgrace and an abdication of justice. Our criminal justice system is racist.”
The leftwing hysteria carried over to the mainstream media. CNN’s Brianna Keilar said, for example, “I question the judgement of the Kentucky AG saying that ‘mob justice is not justice.'” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tongue-lashed Keilar during her September 24th press briefing. McEnany denounced Keilar’s appalling statement on ‘mob justice,’ noting the shooting of the two police officers in Louisville that occurred a few hours later.
CNN’s Don Lemon said that the grand jury’s failure to issue indictments against the police officers directly for Taylor’s death proved to him that there are “three different justice systems: one for police officers, one for Americans of color, and one for white Americans.” He predicted “the possibility of unrest around it” – a self-fulfilling prophesy. Lemon made this remark two nights after he exclaimed, “We’re going to have to blow up the entire system,” while discussing the Republicans’ drive to fill Justice Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid criticized the grand jury’s decision as a “Black lives don’t matter ruling.” She tweeted, “This wasn’t just a ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter’ decision … it was an ‘Only White Lives Matter’ decision … My God, this country can’t get out of the 1920s.” She accused Kentucky’s black attorney general of being “in thrall to a white supremacist president.” Once again an independent-minded African-American leader who dares to stray from the Democrats’ plantation is slammed viciously.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted, “That grand jury literally erased #BreonnaTayor.” Referring to the police officers who were not indicted for the shooting of Breonna Taylor, he made the preposterous claim that “the reason these officers so rarely get charged, let alone convicted, is because killing us is LEGAL. They can almost always find a way to justify it that the law will accept.”
Louisville officials had previously agreed to pay $12 million to settle a wrongful-death civil lawsuit brought by Ms.Taylor’s mother and to institute police reforms. But proving that the police officers committed the crime of homicide requires a much higher standard of proof than a civil case. It requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And there were significant doubts as to the police officers’ criminal guilt in this case, as explained by Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Attorney General Cameron’s office did not just go through the motions with a perfunctory review. He said that his team “spent thousands of hours examining all of the available evidence.” The team used a combination of ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, interviews, information from the Kentucky State Police, and local medical examiners. They also worked with an FBI crime lab “to secure a trajectory analysis and ballistics report.” In addition to some doubt in the evidence about who fired the fatal shot, the totality of the evidence indicated that the officers acted in self-defense after having been fired upon by Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend. The police officers entered the apartment after having knocked and announced themselves. They had to make split second decisions once one of them was shot and wounded. Facing an imminent threat of death or significant bodily harm, the officers returned fire to protect themselves.
Attorney General Cameron provided a civics lesson on what a fair criminal justice system based on due process and the presumption of innocence requires – “the quest for truth, evidence and facts, and the use of that truth as we fairly apply our laws.”
The Founding Fathers designed our constitutional republic’s foundation to establish, in John Adams’ words, a “government of laws, and not of men.” The radicals calling for mob justice in the streets want to dismantle this foundation brick by brick and replace it with their version of a tyrannical hell.