Where Is the Justice for Breonna Taylor?

A grand jury indicted only one of the officers involved in her case— for reasons unrelated to her murder

Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron at a press conference on September 23 in Frankfort, Kentucky, announcing a grand jury’s decision regarding Breonna Taylor’s murder. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

For a country obsessed with law and order, the United States rarely provides justice for Black Americans who are murdered by the police. On Wednesday, six months after the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a grand jury indicted only one of the officers involved in her case: Brett Hankinson, who was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department after the shooting. The other two officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted. Hankinson is facing three charges of “wanton endangerment,” a Class D felony that carries a penalty of one to five years in prison, for firing his weapon into the apartment next to Taylor’s.

All in all, the indictment means no murder charges were brought against anyone involved in the shooting of Taylor, one of the nearly 250 women killed in recent years by police. The absence of justice for the 26-year-old EMT is enraging but not surprising. It’s extremely rare for police officers to face consequences for any type of misconduct, including fatal shootings.

The case also underscores how little this country thinks of Black women. Taylor was sleeping in her home when she was fatally shot. Afterward, it took months before her murder registered with the public, and even then her death didn’t receive the same attention as other cases. Her name was dragged through the mud in an attempt to link her to charges brought against an ex-boyfriend with whom she had no relationship at the time of her death. The $12 million settlement her family received is more than most loved ones obtain, but it didn’t require the city of Louisville to acknowledge any responsibility. And now, this. Yet another painful reminder that Black women are not afforded a shred of humanity, not even in death.

Award-winning journalist covering politics, gender, race, activism, and more. Puertorriqueña.

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