A legal expert explained that Breonna Taylor’s civil rights were violated before Louisville police showed up at her apartment to serve a search warrant.
Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the system that let police off the hook in Taylor’s killing was inherently rigged against people of color, because it shields officers from accountability when they make mistakes.
“Remember [this] started as a no-knock warrant, and because she had no criminal record, because there were real questions here, they actually changed it to a knock-and-announce [warrant], that tells you something,” Wiley said. “It also tells us we need to know more because, as I said, there were indications the Postal Service inspector said they didn’t think there were suspicious packages, so there is a need to understand more.”
Taylor’s boyfriend Kevin Walker, a licensed gun owner, opened fire when officers burst into their apartment, and Wiley said evidence strongly suggests police never announced themselves as the warrant required.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg said as a lone dissenter in a 4th Amendment case that when you are in your home, that is the place the protection has to be the strongest,” Wiley said. “Here, if you listen to that 911 call, listen to Kevin Walker’s 911 call because it makes clear, he had no idea who was entering that apartment in a situation which there was supposed to be an announcement, and there were other witnesses who say they didn’t hear an announcement.”
One former officer was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment because he accidentally fired into neighbors’ apartments, and Wiley said that reflected the value of Black life in the eyes of the law.
“We have a system that has so criminalized the Black community that there is simply not an opportunity in order to be safe sometimes in your home, and no-knock warrants and also warrants, in general, are areas in which we do put people at risk, we do put people at danger, and that’s why people are so angry right now,” Wiley said. “That is where there was also a settlement in this case of $12 million.”
“Remember, there’s not one officer who pays $1 of that restitution,” she added. “So we have to create more accountability systems that ensure that the police work is done well and done right and done fairly.”