American Injustice: Corrupt Attorney Generals, Dirty Cops, and the Murder of Breonna Taylor

Since the inception of law enforcement in the United States, the police force has been used as a state-sanctioned weapon to murder black men and women. We face an epidemic of police officers acting more like soldiers in a race war than law enforcement agents. Unfortunately, the victims’ are so numerous that I cannot name every victim in this article, but their names and lives should never be forgotten. 

Janelle Washington, Silhouette of Breonna Taylor. Courtesy of Oprahmagazine.

In remembrance of black people murdered by what I call “race soldiers,” we should all demand that the perpetrators be brought before justice. In a hypothetical situation where “Tyrone” shoots and kills “ Lil Jon Jon” in cold blood, he would be charged, convicted, and sentenced, so we must demand the same for police who murder black people. Yet, too many of these race soldiers remain unpunished while black children rot in jails. I could find multiple examples of grand jury cases where a police officer was acquitted of murdering a black person. No matter how much evidence is provided to the court, these race soldiers always seem to walk free. 

Today, I want to focus on the case of Breonna Taylor because her death is the most recent example of injustice in the broken justice system. 

The news has been filled with stories about the horrific events of March 13, 2020. On that night, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove murdered Breonna Taylor in cold blood under the guise of engaging in a police raid of her apartment. Despite the cut and dry nature of the case, none of these police officers were charged with the murder of Ms.Taylor. Mr. Hankison recieved three charges of wanton endangerment in the first degree. The wanton endangerment category essentially charges Hankison with endangering the apartments next to Taylor’s by shooting with little regard for accuracy. It is ludicrous that the “land of the free” can allow race soldiers to immorally raid someone’s house and shoot them to death without consequence. 

As the state of Kentucky and the country stood tall to demand justice for Ms. Taylor, Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not recommend murder charges to the grand jury. He effectively said that the killing of an unarmed Black woman in her home was not worthy of being deemed a murder. 

To understand the system’s corruption, we have to realize that the grand jury trial system is a sham. Throughout history, the grand jury trial has allowed Prosecutors, District Attorney, and Attorney Generals to silence juries, tamper with evidence, and falsify information. As the Attorney General on the Taylor case, Daniel Cameron lied about the case’s outcome by stating the grand jury chose not to pursue homicide charges. He told the public that he gave information on “every homicide offense and also presented all of the information that was available.”Yet, a grand juror filed a court stating that Cameron mischaracterized proceedings and was “using grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility” for charging decisions. The grand juror essentially noted that the jury was never given the option to pursue homicide charges. We could argue that Cameron was a single instance of corruption, but Attorney General McCullough did a similar thing during the Michael Brown case. Both men knew that murder charges would not exist because they never presented the information to the grand jury. Thus, we see that race soldiers escape punishment in almost every case where they kill a black person. 

There are a variety of reasons for the continued prevalence of injustice in the legal system. Firstly, most candidates for the district attorney position or elected office receive money from police unions. The donation system essentially functions as a payoff to ensure that the prosecutors give favorable decisions to police. If a district attorney goes against the police, they will lose their funding from the union. The bribing system diminishes a prosecutor’s reasons to share information with opposing lawyers, and it encourages police to falsify information on affidavits and warrants. In Ms. Taylor’s case, the LMPD wrote that there were suspicious packages at her home, but the USPS told the LMPD that no such packages existed. Police know that the state attorneys are often complicit in their crimes, so they know that they can continue to falsify evidence without consequence. We must rid the justice system from the stranglehold of the police union

The stranglehold of police unions, police money, and public pressure from organizations taint the legal system’s highest levels. The “top cop” or attorney general of every state tends to have strong connections to police unions. This is probably one of the reasons that Daniel Cameron lied about the Taylor case. He also stated that his office did not review the circumstances of how the police issued the warrant for the Taylor case. I am not a lawyer, but it seems dubious that the prosecution would go into a case without knowing all the details surrounding it. Police can falsify warrants and judges (many of whom are also elected or selected by politicians) will rubber-stamp them. In the Taylor case, Judge Mary Shaw signed off on those falsified reports, and the Attorney General allowed the whole situation to develop. 

It does not take a genius to understand that the system is rigged. We need to remove police influence and funds from every aspect of the supposedly “color-blind justice system” so race soldiers no longer murder Black people without consequence. Bar associations need to revise their ethics codes to forbid police money and influence on attorney’s running for office, and lawmakers need to pass laws that also prohibit the practice. The system needs to become accountable, transparent, and anti-black-racist instead of pretending to be because injustice is the reality in Kentucky and the rest of the nation. When it comes to anti black-racist reform, the legal system needs to put up or shut up. 

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Dawaun Davis
Executive Director at The Commoner | + posts

Dawaun Davis is an activist and political writer from Baltimore, MD. Davis is a proud Foundational Black American, and he hopes to use his growing platform to help young Black people with their struggles.

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