NBA players and coaches, who have used their platform to champion social justice issues reacted with dismay over the announcement of limited charges in the Breonna Taylor case on Wednesday (September 23). In August, players postponed games in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and they have continued to speak out other instances of police brutality including the Taylor shooting.
Two white policemen who fired into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, will not be prosecuted for her death because their use of force was justified, but a third was charged with endangering her neighbors, Kentucky’s attorney general said on Wednesday.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the Louisville grand jury’s decision at a news conference as protesters against racial injustice and police brutality massed in the streets of Kentucky’s largest city.
“Everybody knows that’s not right. This is the first time I’m hearing about that but that’s heartbreaking. I know a lot of people have been trying to get the justice that system needs. At the end of the day that’s not right,” Nuggets forward Michael Porter told reporters at a media availability.
“I know that we have been using our platform down here to bring about education and a voice for a lot of players on our team especially have spoken out on justice for Breonna Taylor and we have not gotten that justice and that’s a shame and hopefully that will change at some point,” Denver coach Michael Malone added.
Former Detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, an offense that ranks at the lowest level of a felony crime in Kentucky and carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.
Benjamin Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the Taylor family, said it was “outrageous” that none of the officers would be criminally charged with causing Taylor’s death.
Taylor, 26, was killed in front of her armed boyfriend shortly after midnight on March 13 inside her Louisville apartment after Hankison and his two colleagues forced their way in with a search warrant.
The two other officers, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not charged because they were justified under Kentucky law in returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at them, wounding Mattingly in the thigh, Cameron said.
There has been no consensus among the remaining players in the COVID-19 “bubble” about additional demonstrations of support for social justice issues but meetings were scheduled following the Louisville announcement.
“It seems like every time we turn around and look at the news there’s always something disheartening and disappointing and that’s from all standpoints from what’s going
on in this country. We’re not happy about it but you can’t give up hope or quit. You’ve got to keep fighting to make things better for our children and grandchildren,” Lakers forward Danny Green told reporters.
(Production: Peter Bullock)