Breonna Taylor's Family Friend Reacts To Indictment Of Ex-Louisville Police Officer
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
A grand jury in Kentucky has declined to charge three Louisville police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor, of course, is the emergency room technician who was killed in March after plain clothes police officers burst into her apartment in the middle of the night. Two officers will face no charges at all. The third officer was charged with wanton endangerment because several bullets he fired passed through Taylor's apartment and into a neighbor's. The family of Breonna Taylor, along with many protesters and activists, had called for the officers to be charged with murder. Protests are under way tonight in Louisville. And I am joined from there by Christopher 2X. He's a community organizer in the city and a friend of Breonna Taylor's family.
Christopher 2X, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Mary Louise, thank you for having me.
KELLY: I want to start with the meeting that I understand you helped arrange today between Kentucky's attorney general, Daniel Cameron, and Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer. This was in order to break the news personally before this public announcement was made this afternoon.
CHRISTOPHER 2X: That is correct. This was a follow-up meeting, Mary, that happened on August 12, when that was the first face-to-face meeting with - Breonna Taylor's family with Attorney General Cameron. And we arranged that 'cause he and I had a private meeting on that Friday.
KELLY: Yeah. You've been helping the family prepare for a while for what this moment might be like.
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Yes. And so bottom line is today it was an agreement from August the 12 to let the family know first what the grand jury decision was, and that happened.
KELLY: Well, may I ask how it went? How is Breonna Taylor's family reacting to this news?
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Well, Mary Louise, to be quite frank with you - and I've dealt with many survivors over two decades - it was the same kind of powerful and hurtful impact when they're shooting so high for justice at the level they were as it relates to asking for the arrest and the charges but to be disappointed by the grand jury decision. It was it was a crushing, crushing blow for her.
KELLY: As I noted, a lot of people, including Breonna Taylor's family, had been calling for these officers to be charged with murder, which did not happen. I want to play a little bit of the announcement today. This is, again, the attorney general, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. He laid out the reasoning today for the decision.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DANIEL CAMERON: While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed and the grand jury agreed that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker.
KELLY: Just to explain the names there - Mattingly and Cosgrove being the other two officers involved. Kenneth Walker, that last name we heard, being Breonna Taylor's boyfriend who fired his weapon because he says he didn't know that these plainclothes officers were police. Christopher 2X, the question to you, you know, what we heard there, the reasoning from the attorney general saying these charges - homicide charges are not applicable to the facts. How do you hear that? What is your response?
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Well, Mary Louise, you're going to have different disagreements on that, of course. And to be quite frank with you, I knew ahead of time. When I entered that apartment - excuse me - at the request of the family, they called me on March the 14, a day after that shooting. Several days later, I went in that apartment, and it was a horrific crime scene. The bottom line is, though, the complication with this case is simple. When Kenny thought that there were not police officers at the door and he fired, officers are trained to return fire, and they keep shooting until they try to stop the threat. However, there is clear indication that there was excessive shooting in that apartment. And that's where people question, should there have been other charges in this case? And way higher than what Brett Hankison got as it relates to wonton endangerment.
KELLY: What would you like to see happen now?
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Well, Mary Louise, what I'm doing and what I told Tamika Palmer I wanted to do several days after they contacted me - I wanted the federal authorities to have eyes on this situation, meaning the FBI to look into and if civil rights violations were a part or could be a part of an investigation by them to see if it rises to the level of charging as it relates to the beginning of when that warrant was executed until the end when she lost her life in this shooting. And that's what I'm doing now is monitoring the civil rights investigation from the perspective of Tamika Palmer and for her as it relates - yeah.
KELLY: An FBI investigation is what you're watching for.
Christopher 2X, we thank you for joining us.
CHRISTOPHER 2X: Thank you.
KELLY: He's a community organizer in Louisville and, as you heard, a friend of Breonna Taylor's family. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.