Kentucky State Representative Reacts To Indictment Of Ex-Louisville Police Officer
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
One of the Louisville police officers who barged into the apartment of Breonna Taylor has been indicted.
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DANIEL CAMERON: The truth is now before us. The facts have been examined, and a grand jury comprised of our peers and fellow citizens has made a decision.
KELLY: That is Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announcing the indictment by a grand jury of Brett Hankison. Hankison was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department back in June. He was the only one of the three officers involved who was charged today, and he was charged on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighboring apartment. He is not being charged for her death.
Police killed Breonna Taylor, we all recall, in a botched raid on her apartment in March. Since then, activists have been calling for the three officers to be charged with her killing. One of those activists is a state representative, Attica Scott, who joins us now. She is at the main square there in Louisville, Ky.
Rep. Scott, welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
ATTICA SCOTT: Thank you. I appreciate that.
KELLY: I want to hear your reaction to this indictment today, but I wonder, before we get there, if you would just describe where you are, what's going on. What is the mood in Louisville?
SCOTT: Well, I'm at Injustice Square Park in downtown Louisville. And this has been the heartbeat, the center of the movement for justice for Breonna Taylor. There are lots of people here consoling one another and talking about what's next. And while all of that is happening, we're also looking up on top of the jail and the old courthouse as police are watching us with binoculars in their full-body gear as if they're ready for battle or war. So yeah. So that's our reality right now.
KELLY: Yeah. I wonder, you know, as an elected official, is there anything you want to say to people who may be listening in Louisville right now?
SCOTT: I want people to know that I stand with you, and we will keep fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor and her family. Breonna deserves better. And we know that our calling is to continue to hold one another close in love, community and solidarity, and that's exactly what we will do.
KELLY: Your reaction to the news today, to the indictment - three counts of wanton endangerment for one of the officers involved.
SCOTT: I'm disappointed - disappointed and not surprised. And I'm very clear that justice was not served today.
KELLY: And why not? What would you have liked to have seen happen?
SCOTT: I would have preferred that at least the three officers - Cosgrove, Mattingly...
KELLY: You're referring to Jon Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, the other two officers involved.
SCOTT: ...And Hankison were indicted. And while we had maintained hope that that would happen, we were also realistic, and we know that these systems hardly ever work for us as Black people. So - and we also know that there's work that we have to continue to do to hold every single system accountable, including the judicial system where Judge Mary Shaw signed these no-knock search warrants really without question.
KELLY: I want to just note for the record that Daniel Cameron, the - again, the state attorney general - he says the grand jury reviewed all of the evidence and investigations and that they determined it was only this one former officer, Brett Hankison, who should be charged. I also want to play just a little bit more of what else he said today and let you react to it.
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CAMERON: Justice is not often easy, does not fit the mold of public opinion. And it does not conform to shifting standards. It answers only to the facts and to the law. With this in mind, we must now ask ourselves, where do we go from here?
KELLY: I guess that's the next question I want to put to you, Rep. Scott. You were starting to speak about where do we go from here, but I wonder if you would be specific.
SCOTT: I will definitely be specific, but I'll also say that justice also is hardly ever served when it's police officers murdering Black people. And so we are clear that our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it's corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top. And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.
We're also very clear that the bill that I have filed, Breonna's Law for Kentucky, has to pass. It has to pass so that what happened in the case of Breonna Taylor does not happen again - that we have to get policy change because this system will not change unless the policies reflect what the people are demanding.
KELLY: Well, Attica Scott, we thank you so much for speaking with us, and I hope things stay safe there tonight in Louisville.
SCOTT: Thank you so much.
KELLY: That is state Rep. Attica Scott - I'll note she is the only Black woman in the Kentucky Legislature - speaking to us from the main square tonight in Louisville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.