Reason Roundup

Kentucky Authorities Offered Leniency to Breonna Taylor's Ex if He Would Implicate Her in Drug Crimes

Plus: Biden asks America: "Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?"


They're trying to "paint a picture of her which was vastly different than the woman she truly was," says lawyer. Kentucky authorities' defense for fatally shooting Breonna Taylor in a late-night raid for nonexistent drugs and drug money has always turned on the idea that Taylor—a 26-year-old emergency room technician who lived with her sister—was part of her ex-boyfriend's alleged drug scheme. Now, new documents show how far they were willing to go to manufacture evidence for this narrative.

"On Tuesday, we were told Breonna Taylor's ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover was offered a plea deal, which would have required him to say that Taylor was part of his drug operation," Vice news correspondent Roberto Aram Ferdman noted yesterday, adding that "the family's attorney shared a picture of a plea deal that appears to show it is true."

To accept the deal, Glover would have had to sign a statement saying that Taylor was among several others who helped him in an "organized crime syndicate" as he "trafficked large amounts of Crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates" in the Louisville area and sold it "from abandoned or vacant homes."

If he agreed, the Jefferson County Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney was willing to shrink his possible 10-year prison sentence to only probation.

Even if Taylor had been part of this supposed "crime syndicate," it wouldn't justify what police did here, of course. They were still trigger-happy goons who did a middle-of-the-night raid, without announcing themselves clearly, as part of an unwinnable but endlessly violent, discriminatory, and abusive war on drugs that makes everyone less safe and routinely leads to avoidable tragedies like these.

But their actions are all the more appalling when you consider the weakness of their evidence that anything illegal was at Taylor's house. In fact, they raided the home and killed Taylor as she had been disentangling herself from Glover, trying to move on from their relationship and whatever tangential involvement in his activities it may have brought.

But police and county authorities wouldn't let her. They were insistent on casting the net as wide as possible and taking Taylor down with Glover—at any cost, apparently. And now that Taylor can't defend herself, they're trying to manipulate the legal system to get Glover to go along with it.

The attempt shows "the lengths to which those within the police department and Commonwealth's Attorney went to after Breonna Taylor's killing to try and paint a picture of her which was vastly different than the woman she truly was," Taylor's lawyer, Sam Aguiar, said.

Glover didn't ultimately take the deal, offered to him in July, and rejects the idea that he is somehow responsible for Taylor's death. "The police are trying to make it out to be my fault and turning the whole community out here making it look like I brought this to Breonna's door," he told The Courier Journal. "There was nothing never there or anything ever there, and at the end of the day, they went about it the wrong way and lied on that search warrant and shot that girl out there," he said.


Antifa Airlines thwarted? President Donald Trump is again rambling on about insane conspiracy theories on national television, this time about how Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden is being controlled by a cabal of shadowy "thugs" that the president can't talk about.

A garbled memory of a viral rumor? A further attempt to portray Biden as soft on crime in advance of the election? A dog whistle for QAnon? Any way you look at it… WTF?

In related news:

Meanwhile, Biden asks America: "Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?"


Marijuana decriminalization vote in three weeks. A date has been set for the U.S. House vote on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level:


A Military Times poll suggests active-duty troops aren't too fond of Trump. It reports:

In the latest results — based on 1,018 active-duty troops surveyed in late July and early August — nearly half of respondents (49.9 percent) had an unfavorable view of the president, compared to about 38 percent who had a favorable view. […] Even with the steady decline, Trump's popularity in the poll remains better than former President Barack Obama. Obama had a 36 percent favorable rating and a 52 percent unfavorable rating in a January 2017 Military Times poll. […] Among active-duty service members surveyed in the poll, 41 percent said they would vote for Biden, the Democratic nominee, if the election was held today. Only 37 percent said they plan to vote to re-elect Trump.


• More good news about the ability of masks to defeat facial recognition technologies.

• The latest research on COVID-19 fatality rates confirms that older patients make up a hugely disproportionate amount of deaths from the virus. "Patients 65 or older account for about 16 percent of confirmed cases but four-fifths of COVID-19 deaths," notes Reason's Jacob Sullum:

The crude case fatality rate indicated by the CDC's numbers (deaths divided by confirmed cases) is about 0.25 percent for patients younger than 50 and nearly 16 percent—63 times higher—for patients older than 64. While the overall crude CFR is 3 percent, the rates among adults range from 0.07 percent for patients in their late teens and 20s to 29 percent for patients 85 or older—more than 400 times higher.

• The Department of Homeland Security has "confirmed NBC News reporting that migrant children who had been separated from their parents were left waiting in vans for hours, in some cases overnight, while waiting to be reunited."

Vox's Matthew Yglesias makes the case for building more housing and letting more people in.