Today, a grand jury announced that former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Brett Hankison will be charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. These charges are related to shots he fired into apartments surrounding Breonna Taylor’s, who was killed by one of the officers at the scene during the incident. No charges were filed in response to Taylor’s killing.
Breonna Taylor’s death was preventable, but according to laws set forth by our War on Drugs, her killing is justifiable because police suspected that her home was involved in illegal drugs. No drugs were found during the raid. One study of tactical police deployments nationwide found that for drug-related warrant executions, drugs and related contraband were only confirmed on-site 35% of the time.
We hope that the high-profile nature of this case draws attention to the systemic failures of the drug war and exposes the urgent need for policy change to public officials at every level of government.
Once again, a community grieves the death of an innocent person as well as the absence of justice and accountability. We at the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) grieve alongside those demanding justice and repeat our call to end the War on Drugs, because this is truly a war on people that falls hardest on people of color, people living in poverty, people with mental health disorders, and people who live outside.
The belief that police are the only entity capable of preventing societal collapse is misguided and rampant. There is no humility in the concept of “the thin blue line,” the imaginary line on which officers put themselves on the side of righteousness. We are not immune to mistakes and we should not be shielded from the consequences of our actions. If the law shields us from accountability, then the law is wrong.
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals who use their expertise to advance evidence-based public safety solutions. LEAP is the only group of law enforcement working to end the War on Drugs.