breonna taylor

The Legal Response to Breonna Taylor's Death Shows How Drug Prohibition Transforms Murder Into Self-Defense

The hail of bullets that killed her can be justified only in a country that uses violence to enforce politicians' pharmacological prejudices.

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Three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers executed the fruitless drug raid that killed Breonna Taylor, an unarmed 26-year-old EMT, in the middle of the night on March 13. But just one faces criminal charges, and those charges have nothing to do with Taylor's death.

State prosecutors concluded that the two other officers were justified in returning fire after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot one of them in the leg. Yet local prosecutors decided not to pursue an attempted murder charge against Walker.

Those seemingly contradictory decisions reflect Kentucky's standards for self-defense, which make it possible that Walker and the cops were both legally justified in using deadly force. But that puzzling situation also has to be understood in the context of the war on drugs, which frequently involves armed home invasions that invite potentially deadly confusion. That unjustified violence is the root of the problem highlighted by Taylor's senseless death and the unsatisfying legal response to it.

Yesterday a grand jury charged Detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for blindly firing 10 rounds from outside Taylor's apartment. At a post-indictment press conference yesterday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron noted that Hankison fired through a sliding glass patio door and a bedroom window, both of which were covered by blinds or curtains. Some of those bullets entered the unit behind Taylor's, which was occupied by a man, a pregnant woman, and a child. Hence the three counts of wanton endangerment.

When acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder fired Hankison in June, he said the detective "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" by "wantonly and blindly fir[ing] 10 rounds" into Taylor's apartment. Schroeder's language tracks Kentucky's definition of first-degree wanton endangerment, which happens when someone "wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person" in "circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life." That's a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison for each count.

Cameron said "there's no conclusive evidence" that any of the rounds fired by Hankison struck Taylor, who was hit six times. According to "medical evidence," the attorney general said, just one of those bullets was fatal, and it would have killed Taylor within two minutes. While a state ballistic analysis could not determine who fired the fatal shot, the FBI's lab concluded that it came from Detective Myles Cosgrove's gun. Cosgrove fired 16 rounds at Walker and Taylor, and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the officer who was hit in the leg, fired six. So in response to a single bullet fired by Walker, the three officers fired a total of 32 rounds.

Although prosecutors concluded that Hankison's behavior was criminally reckless, they determined that Mattingly and Cosgrove acted legally in self-defense. "Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker," Cameron said. "According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor's death."

How did Cameron reach that conclusion? He did not examine the genesis of the dubious search warrant that the three officers were serving, an issue the FBI is still investigating. He began with the premise that Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Hankison were acting in good faith based on information provided by others and executing a warrant they believed was lawful. He also accepted their account that they knocked on the door and announced themselves, notwithstanding a warrant that authorized them to dispense with that step.

Although there is no video of the raid, Cameron said, "evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officers' statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was…in proximity to [Taylor's apartment]. In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant."

After knocking and receiving no response, Cameron said, the officers used a battering ram to break in the door. Mattingly, "the first and only officer to enter the residence," saw a man and woman standing next to each other "at the end of the hall." The man "was holding a gun, arms extended, in a shooting stance." Mattingly "saw the man's gun fire, heard a boom, and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh." Mattingly "returned fire down the hallway," while Cosgrove, who "was also in the doorway," opened fire "almost simultaneously." All of this "took place in a matter of seconds."

On these facts, the legal analysis is straightforward. Kentucky allows someone to use deadly force when he "believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death [or] serious physical injury." It was reasonable for Mattingly and Cosgrove to believe that in the circumstances described by Cameron.

Now let's look at the situation from Walker's perspective. He and Taylor were asleep when the cops, who were wearing plain clothes rather than uniforms, approached the apartment around 12:40 a.m. Walker said he heard someone banging on the door for 30 seconds or so but did not hear any indication of who was there. The New York Times interviewed "nearly a dozen" neighbors, and only one "reported hearing the officers shout 'police' before entering." That neighbor might be the "independent witness" mentioned by Cameron.

Even if the cops did shout "police," that announcement could easily have been missed by someone who had just been rudely awakened in the middle of the night. Walker said he grabbed his gun because he believed criminals were breaking into the apartment. That is consistent with the alarmed telephone calls he made that night, including a 911 call in which a distraught Walker said, "I don't know what's happening. Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend."

You can begin to see why local prosecutors, who initially charged Walker with attempted murder of a police officer, dropped that charge in May. Under Kentucky law, a person who uses deadly force in defense of a dwelling is "presumed to have held a reasonable fear" of "death or great bodily harm" when he "had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred."

There is an exception to that presumption when force is used against a police officer who enters a residence "in the performance of his or her official duties" if "the
officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or
the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person
entering or attempting to enter was a peace officer." In this case, there is a dispute about whether the cops identified themselves, and it is pretty clear that Walker did not know they were police officers. Nor is it reasonable, given the circumstances, to think he "should have known" that. And even without the presumption of "reasonable fear" for people attacked at home, Walker could have made a compelling case that he acted in defense of himself and his girlfriend if prosecutors had decided to try him for attempted murder.

Legalities aside, it is clear that Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Hankison were the aggressors in this situation. The warrant that authorized their home invasion was based purely on guilt by association: Taylor's continued contact with an ex-boyfriend who was arrested for drug dealing that same night. The warrant was served in a reckless manner, using tactics that have led to fatal misunderstandings in cities across the country over and over again. And it was based on the immoral assumption that violence is an appropriate response to peaceful activities that violate no one's rights.

Earlier I said Walker "believed criminals were breaking into the apartment." It would be more accurate to say that criminals were breaking into the apartment—a reality that everyone would recognize but for the war on drugs. Taylor's death has been widely cited as an example of police abuse—actions that exceed the bounds of the law. But the real horror is what the law allows in the name of stopping Americans from consuming arbitrarily proscribed intoxicants.

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  1. In other words, this problem isn’t going to be fixed by stringing up a couple of street cops, however emotionally satisfying that would be for some folks.

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    2. Just like when anyone is murdered. It’s a systemic problem and it won’t be solved by stringing up the murderers. They should say they’re sorry and promise not to do it again.

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    3. In other words, while there may be systemic issues, even if you fix the law, fix PD policies and fix police training, non of that will accomplish much of anything without real accountability for individual street cops.

    4. The most seemingly balanced and informative articles on this case I have read to date. I do not believe the cops should be prosecuted. Nor do I believe Breonna Taylor’s death should be used to justify the ongoing BLM riots in the US that are causing so much property damage, injury and deaths.

      Based on this article the system needs to be changed but not to make it easier to prosecute cops or defund or disarm them rather, changes to the fundamental way the legal system works. An interesting article.

      1. Nothing was stopping the cops from executing a search warrant during daylight hours or preferably when the apartment was empty. They chose to go in with guns blazing and without any tactical planning. It’s not just the system, it’s also reckless behavior on the part of the cops. If there are no consequences for violating citizens’ rights then what hope of stopping the violations?

        1. There is no hope, or reasonable expectation of stopping the referenced violations absent the firmest holding of government responsible, police agencies, and individual officers are most definitely part of “government”.

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    6. The authorities responsible for charging police crimes consistently miss or intentionally overlook the key element in these potential police abuse cases, exigent circumstances. The SCOTUS has ruled that the police are not legally entitled to use deadly force when they create the emergency that creates the threat. When they do something that creates the threat they cite as justification for deadly force, they nullify their right to use it. They can’t throw a gun at a suspects feet and then claim he was about to reach for a gun as justification for shooting him. Likewise, when they bang on a door in the middle of the night but refuse to identify themselves as police, they create the fear in the suspect that would compel him to become threatening because an ordinary person in those circumstances wouldn’t expect the police to bang on a door without identifying themselves after shouting out “Who’s there?” numerous times. A similar exigent circumstance overlook case was the 14 year old child with the toy or pellet gun in the park in Cleveland. He wasn’t an immediate threat to anyone and no one was around him until the police drove directly up to within a few feet of him, jumped out and executed him on the spot. They claimed they feared he would shoot them when all they had to do to avoid the threat was not drive directly up to point blank range and expose themselves. Many of these cases are created by cops who create the exigent circumstance, the emergency, that they then cite as a reason to use deadly force. They look for a way to turn the situation into a tragedy and when the charging authorities are too willfully ignorant or indifferent to deadly force law, and they almost always seem to be, the police get away with their crimes. If these cops refused to identify themselves as all but one witness confirmed, then the created the exigent circumstance that made their use of deadly force illegal. But if prosecutors aren’t willing to charge the police they work with every day with crimes, the chances for bringing rogue police to justice just evaporate into the ether.

      1. While I certainly agree that they should not have been serving a warrant at 12:45 AM, and there is a much bigger concern about police being far too quick to draw their weapons, there is one big issue in this case.

        Walker shot at the police through the door. Before they entered the home. I will accept for purpose of arguments that his claim that he didn’t hear them shouting (which, realistically, makes no sense. Why wouldn’t they shout “Open up, this is the police” while banging on a door? Let’s accept that he couldn’t understand them). Even accepting his version of events, there is almost no circumstance that you can ever justify shooting someone through your front door. They are not on your property. They are not an immediate threat. Deadly force is not acceptable.

        Once he started to use deadly force, the officers were quite justified in responding in kind.

        Yes, they created a risky situation when they unwisely decided to enact a search warrant after midnight. However, Walker was the one who escalated it to deadly force.

      2. Seems as if “intentionally overlook” might be the key consideration or at least a key consideration. Authority/power without real responsibility, as seems to often to exist, is a formula for endless trouble.

    7. What about, say, a few pairs of Nikes, a couple iPhones, a Playstation, burning down some small shops and beating up some old white people? Pretty sure that’s considered “restorative justice” in some legal theories. (though said theories are behind a big “BLM” sign and covered by some tastefully-arranged Saranwrap.)

      These actions also magically honor George Floyd, memorialize the innocent Breonna Taylor and pay tribute to activist and bad shot Antwon Rose.

      Any questions about this come, I am sure, from a place of privilege and can be ignored. (h/t Lisa “What Brain? I use a CRT flow chart” Bender, Mpls. City Council)

      1. Honest to God, a comment came through my door posing as a comment about “emotionally satisfying” rioting, looting and arson and I just fired this post at it. I didn’t know I was at the bottom of the thread and now another innocent black person has been maligned!

        Boy, is my privilege red!

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  2. Reason has repeatedly mischaracterized this story and actual events. Just like they did with the non-peaceful protests.

    1. Who the fuck shoots at the cops raiding your house through the door and pretends they might be fake cops? Dumbass dealer knowing his time was up. Fuck reason for complaining of riots they themselves imcited.

      1. That guy Kenneth Walker who shot one shot at cops who battered in the door was not a drug dealer. He has a clean criminal record. The drug dealer was Brianna’s EX who did not live at her apartment.

  3. The good news is that you’re allowed legally (eventually) to defend yourself and your home from invasion. The bad news is that you’re legally allowed (and systemically required) to defend yourself after invading a home.

    1. They had not yet invaded the home. They were in the process of knocking down the door AFTER knocking and not really waiting for a response.

      1. Every legislator, mayor and city councilman should be required to watch a compilation of “knock and announce” raids gone wrong.

        They invariably feature two or three (or more) people shouting over each other and banging on the door for anywhere from 3 to 15 seconds, then bashing the door in, rushing through and screaming incoherently with almost no coordination. The really bad ones involve someone in their underwear running out of the bedroom with a look of panic holding a golf club. He probably would have stopped to put a robe on if he knew that would be the last moments of his life.

        1. This sounds like Point Break…
          The original with Keanu, not the one where the FBI pays one of the Helmsworths to travel around the world doing various extreme sports without any real justification.

  4. Wait. Who shot first. Greedo or Han? Wait. Only Han shot. That was murder. What happened in Louisville was that the drug dealer shot first, and then someone got carried away returning fire. Not murder. Provoked response.

    1. Except not drug dealer. That’s what makes it tragic (which says a lot about the public response to use of force.)

      It does not make the actions of the residents or the police criminal.

      (As to whether we should send police to execute simple search warrants in the middle of the night is an entirely different topic that deserves separate consideration)

      1. Except not drug dealer

        I’ve seen different sources that concluded otherwise, but honestly, it doesn’t change my calculus.

    2. Provoked response.

      You mean when the boyfriend shot at the cops.

    3. Wait, so if you’re shot during an invasion of your home it matters whether you shot first?

      1. Only if a god is invading your home, not some regular jackoff.

      2. He shot through the door before they even entered the apartment. That little tidbit changes everything.

    4. Lol. The cops create a volatile situation by breaking into someone’s home in the middle of the night, for what? To stop someone from maybe flushing some drugs down the toilet? Whom does that serve?

      Certainly not the public. Only the cops who can’t get boners in any other way benefit, unless they too end up dead.

      1. You may want to track this back to why the law ever allowed these dynamic entry drug raids in the first place. If it’s so against the interest of the public, why would any judge or legislator ever allow agree to this practice?

        It’s a police problem, but the police became a problem with the aid and consent of bad laws and bad policies.

        1. “but the police became a problem with the aid and consent of bad laws and bad policies.”

          True, but now that we are there, even if you fix the bad laws and the bad policies, the problem won’t go away without real accountability for individual police officers.

          1. But you can’t apply that ex-post facto. You can’t blame an individual officer for executing a dynamic entry raid when it was legal and accepted. You have to blame the department and the legislature.

            Blame the system for the system’s failures, not the individual. Blame the individual for their individual failures.

            1. I’m not suggesting anything be applied ex-post facto.

              That said, yes we can blame individual officers if they lied to get a warrant authorizing dynamic entry.

            2. I can blame whoever the fuck I want to. Hell, I blame them all, cops, judges, prosecutors, whoever! Aww, shit, I’m gonna need more bullets…

            3. Why can’t I blame the individual officers? They grew up in the same society I did so must be aware of its rules of morality. They must have read coverage of previous tragedies where the cops have killed innocent people breaking into a house for similarly dubious drug busts. The fact that they didn’t think “hmm, let’s do this one differently to try to avoid civilian collateral damage” tells me everything I need to know about their individual character and failures.

    5. Sorry, no. When thieves and assassins break into your house in the middle of the night, you don’t have to wait for them to shoot first. That’s not the legal standard.

      Whether he’s a drug dealer or not, he thought he was defending himself and his family from unknown assailants. He was legally allowed to shoot first. Yes, there was a provoked response – provoked by the police. Their pretext that they were “returning fire” remains mere pretext given their initial provocation.

      1. Maybe. The question of whether or not the police announced they were the police is very much in dispute.

        1. The charges against the shooter were dropped.

          So here is what the DA is saying: the guy who shot the cops did so legally. The cops returning fire, which was what killed BT) did so legally. This is basically a horrific accident. It might be due to bad policy (I am very open to this), but it doesn’t appear to be murder.

          1. The cops on the scene weren’t murderers, but these people should be investigated for felony murder:
            The cops that filled out the application for a warrant, if they lied or omitted relevant information.
            The DA and judge if they approved the warrant on legally insufficient grounds, or if they knew the cops were likely to lie.
            The planners of the raid.

      2. Someone in the same building said they heard the police identify themselves.
        So, no, the claim of “unknown assailants” is a big, fat lie.
        You are not legally allowed to shoot police carrying out their lawful duties, which is not a “provocation”.

        1. Well obviously you fucking are, because the DA declined to charge the boyfriend specifically because he believed he was defending his house.

          And by the way, yelling “POLICE OPEN UP!” is not identifying yourself as a police officer- since anybody can do that. To identify yourself as an officer who must be obeyed, you need to present some sort of identification.

          Unfortunately, that is hard to do when pounding on the door waking people up in the middle of the night, so maybe police should stop doing that if they don’t want residence legally shooting them for invading a home.

          1. Wrong. For the type of entry they were doing, announcing or identifying as police verbally is appropriate. It’s completely asinine to think that a dynamic entry would pause for the resident to check and confirm identification.

        2. Someone in the building said they heard the police identify themselves.

          Even if that someone is telling the truth, the fact that the self-identification was audible in the building hallway does not mean it was audible in the apartment’s bedroom.

          1. The upstairs neighbor said he heard it and one of the reporters at the AG’s news conference confirmed that in their question. It’s politically advantageous to throw the cops under the bus right now so testimony that matches the cops story ought to be assumed to be true. Besides, if you start ignoring the facts found during the investigation, you end up rioting in the streets every time anything happens.

            1. This version leaves out some important facts.

              1. There were 12 neighbors who were interviewed who all claimed they did not hear the police announce themselves

              2. There is 1 person who lives upstairs who the first two time he was asked said he did not hear anything, then the third time he was asked changed his story to he announced himself.

              This all begs the question of whether a dynamic entry was even necessary. The police had already arrested drug dealer Grover across town so they knew he was not there (the police later forged the documents to change the timing to look like Grover was arrested later, but forging legal documents, like lying under oath is general considered good police work by prosecutors and judges. Don’t you try this though.)

              The police had identified this as a soft target in their own paperwork. They did not ask for support from the SWAT team, which would have provided the ambulance that might have saved Breonna’s life, because they did not believe there was real risk. Then they create a dangerous situation with a dynamic entry. I am not a fan of dynamic entries, but if it is to be done I would rather it be done by a trained SWAT team rather than a group of poorly trained keystone cops.

              How you arrive at this conclusion from all this that “Walker should have known they were cops” is………creative.

            2. “It’s politically advantageous to throw the cops under the bus right now so testimony that matches the cops story ought to be assumed to be true.”

              Wow. Now THAT’S retarded. Just how much cop cum have you swallowed?! I think it’s poisoned your brain.

        3. ONE person who heard the cops shout that ONE time is not proof that everyone heard it – especially not someone woken up in the middle of the night by that shout. Copsucker.

      3. so, a few things. Not sure what the law is in Kentucky, but in TN, you aren’t allowed to shoot through the door if someone’s breaking in, they actually have to have broken in and you must think you or your family is in danger. Regarding gun safety 101, it’s never a good idea to shoot blindly through something, always check your target, and if possible check what’s around and behind your target. 2ndly, I did see that Kentucky’s self-defense law doesn’t take effect if the cops are trying to arrest you. Finally (and this isn’t at Rossami but some of the others in the thread) the idea that because the DA didn’t arrest the boyfriend means he’s automatically innocent is laughable, considering for the last 4 months we’ve watched multiple DAs arrest innocent people who have legitimately defended themselves from the mob, while ignoring assault, arson, terrorism, and even murder from the mob, because of politics. Louisville’s mayor was supporting these riots early on, if you think city politics don’t have anything to do with a high profile case like that, you’re crazy.

  5. This case is really bumming me out. The fact that it’s a tragedy that anyone in this country dies from having their door kicked in during the middle of the night to be arrested for non-violent crimes is bad enough. What makes it worse is that this is yet another issue that libertarians have been going on about for decades now, and have developed well thought out, achievable solutions to while everyone in the country stuck their fingers in their ears and then suddenly one case comes along and the whole thing gets absconded and turned into a brainless, purely emotional mess by the left.

    I have been telling anyone that listens that there are an average of over 30,000 SWAT raids per year in this country. They routinely kill people that are not even the targets of the raids, go into the wrong house and kill dogs by the thousands (which is the only aspect of this that makes anyone recoil in terror) all to enforce the aesthetic preferences of the ruling class. I see almost no discussion of how routine a problem this is, no legislation (save for Rand Paul who was nearly treated with mob justice for his trouble) and nothing about the many thousands that have died this way or the equal number of officers, DA’s and judges that have walked away consequence free from their murderous schemes.

    Instead we have one case that has just been turned into a misinformation laden emotional claptrap for race-baiters and activists that think that turning someone into a mural or a slogan is equal to achieving change or justice. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we were almost better off when everyone was just ignoring it. At least slow steady legal progress could be made by a few people who are actually serious about solving it instead of turning it into yet another brainless partisan issue with zero chance of an actual solution.

    1. And if there were two… just two libertarians who were frustrated that their issue kept getting hijacked and derailed…. well, they’d think they were gay and they would take them.

      But just imagine if three.. if Three libertarians were to sing “Stop using SWAT for execution of warrants in non-violent cases” in perfect 3- part harmony……

      Well then, we’d have a momement!

      1. I disagree, you’d have an organization. Now, if 50 libertarians, yes, I said 50 libertarians walk in sang a bar of “stop using SWAT for execution of warrants in non-violent case” and walk out. Then friend, they may think we have a moment.

        But they would be wrong again, unfortunately.

        1. You could never find 50 True Libertarians.

      2. And 27 8×10 colored glossy pictures with the circles and arrows with a paragraph on the back of each one…

    2. It’s very frustrating, yes, but that’s not what absconded means.

    3. “Instead we have one case that has just been turned into a misinformation laden emotional claptrap for race-baiters and activists that think that turning someone into a mural or a slogan is equal to achieving change or justice.”

      What a stupid comment. You be wise to look into the Justice for Breonna Taylor act, sponsered by Rand Paul. We likely wouldn’t have this legislation if it weren’t for these “activists” you derided.

      I don’t like BLM’s tactics, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      1. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is also your enemy. “If you want to stop this problem, you have to endorse EVERY SINGLE IDEA we want to pass, or else we’re not doing anything.”

        That’s the stance taken by some of the progressives now advocating for criminal justice reform. They don’t want incremental victories, they want to politicize the moment and get all the other stuff they want, hidden under the umbrella of police reform.

        If they were focused on making police less violent, instead of less racist, we could make progress.

        1. “If they were focused on making police less violent, instead of less racist, we could make progress.”
          These two issues are not diametrically opposed so I don’t see your point. I believe black lives matter but I don’t support BLM the organization. Their official site has kooky stuff about “rejecting the nuclear family unit” and “elevating trans voices.”
          What I am interested in is the fact that on both the state and federal levels, there is now legislation that makes police less violent. We arrived here as a direct result of the protests.

          1. Let me explain, then, since it seems not obvious.

            Whether Breonna Taylor is black or not doesn’t actually matter. What matters is that the cops had no reason to violently enter her apartment. She’s dead not because these were racist cops who were looking for an excuse to shoot black girls, but because police were told to execute a raid after midnight by breaking down a door and scaring the shit out of the resident. That provoked the boyfriend to shoot at them in defense, which provoked the police to return fire in defense.

            So instead of looking at the investigation, the judge, and the shitty drug laws, people simply said, “Racist cops!” and sought to try these guys for murder instead of addressing the actual problem. If you don’t look at the racial aspect of this case, there’s clearly significant issues here. But if you’re convinced this is about racist, murdering cops, you hear that they’re not being charged with murder and might decide the problem is that racist cops are being protected, instead of the problem being that the actual culprits aren’t being charged with anything.

            And that leads to rioting, which is a surefire way to undermine the support for police reform.

            1. And to expound, slightly, you need to actually understand why Breonna Taylor is dead.

              If you’re trying to frame the problem as racist police, you’ll say, “Because racist cops broke into her apartment.” Then someone will ask why they broke into the apartment. And the answer is “Because they’re racist.” It’s after the fact reasoning. We decide they’re racist because a black person is dead, instead of focusing on how to prevent this.

              If you’re framing the problem as a “use of force” issue, instead of a racial one, you’ll see that whether or not the cops were raging racists is less important than the fact that they were legally executing a signed warrant to breach an apartment. Even if they announced, as they claimed, they didn’t have to because they were given carte blanche for a no-knock raid. Why were they told to execute a no-knock raid? To prevent a potential drug dealer from destroying evidence. And then you might ask if that’s a justifiable reason for police to break down the door of someone who hasn’t been convicted of anything. That’s what leads you to look at the decision of the investigating officers, the judge, and the shitty laws.

              And that’s how you fix things-you make it illegal for cops to break into a home to secure evidence, not to make it illegal to “be racist.”

              1. I don’t think Taylor was killed because of racism, there are plenty of non-black people (Jose Guerena, David Hook, Chris Roupe off the top of my head) who have died due to inappropriate police force. My point is that the “race baiters” are achieving things that people who otherwise think like me have failed to. If it needs to be framed as a race issue then so be it.

                1. The race-baiters are also achieving an increase in property damage and violence. If your new policies coincide with an increase in violent crimes and property crimes, you’re going to erode the support for your reforms in the long run.

                  And more people will end up dead because of race-baiters. Look at what happened in Kenosha. Look at the two officers who were shot in Louisville That’s almost directly a response to race-baiting rhetoric. That’s a taste of what could easily spread if people miss the fucking point. The only progress made is to change the reason for the bodies in the street.

                  1. “Look at the two officers who were shot in Louisville That’s almost directly a response to race-baiting rhetoric. ”
                    So criminals didn’t shoot cops until this year? Wow I never knew.

                    1. That will still happen.

                      What we want to limit are riots created because race baiters have told a crowd that police are all racist and will never face consequences, so they’re encouraged to destroy, and people end up being shot because they’re trying to prevent violence and destruction. It could be police, or it could be concerned gun owners, or it could be rioters shot by people defending their property.

                    2. I’d say the killing of cops lately has been a response to the lack of accountability of police. People see that there is no recourse or legal avenue for retribution, so they pursue the only avenue they have left: violence. It’s not right, it’s not moral, I don’t condone it. But it is predictable.

                      Just like the riots. Rioters are breaking the law. They should go to jail. There is no individual justification for destroying property or people who have nothing to do with the situation. But I see riots as similar to a force of nature, like a hurricane. If certain conditions are met, atmospheric in the former or social, political, and economic in the latter, then you get a resulting storm/riot.

                      Which is what makes it so dumb when Trumpies shout about liberal mayors not using enough tear gas as the problem. Can Trumpies not extrapolate past one event to see causality? Why are we even talking about how much tear gas is appropriate? Why not ask yourselves what brought us to the point of riots?

                    3. “Why not ask yourselves what brought us to the point of riots”

                      Be sure to remember that as you bleed out

                    4. Are you purposely missing the point, or just incapable of thinking?

                      “It’s not right, it’s not moral, I don’t condone it. But it is predictable.”

                    5. …or was that a threat, Nardz. If so, please do try me.

                    6. Which is what makes it so dumb when Trumpies shout about liberal mayors not using enough tear gas as the problem.

                      Yeah, I’m sure the fact that these riots have only been going on in liberal-run cities for several months now, while the ones that do manage to go outside into conservative-leaning areas tend to get shut down fast, is just a coincidence.

                  2. don’t forget the 3 dead due to a BLM member going into a restaurant in Louisville and lighting the place up. Or the Antifa guy who ambushed and murdered a rightwinger up in portland. There’s plenty of stuff that the media’s just not reporting on

          2. Legislation does not make anything, it needs to be followed through, and checked, And the programs, if there are programs, it creates, need to be realistic, and supported but the organizations they are trying to change. Politicians, activists generally clamor for funding, laws, and programs, but never follow through or check progress. They seem to assume that their hopes will magically arrive, and when the unsurprising failure occurs, bilk taxpayers for more money.

        2. Kinda that fine distinction between “reform activism” and “race grifting”.

          BTW, Apple/B of A/P&G/Micro$oft/Alphabet et. al., would like you to donate, for great justice!!

      2. So all the other legislation Rand Paul has authored/sponsored regarding criminal justice reforms over the years were because Rand was pressured by future “activist”?

        I think you don’t know what the meaning of stupid is.

        Some of his pre-Breonna legislations:
        Justice Safety Valve Act 2013
        Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act 2014
        The Fair Act 2014
        RESET Act 2014
        Police Camera Act 2015
        I can go on citing his wiki page if you need more.

        1. The Justice Safety Valve act, Voting rights act, and RESET have nothing to do with police brutality.
          The body camera act was made after the Michael Brown shooting. Go to his OWN fucking website he even had a quote that mentions Ferguson.

          “In communities like Ferguson, we have seen that public trust eroded by reports of racism and use of excessive force by police.”
          Sounds like activists had a role on that legislation, no?

          Thank you for proving my point.

      3. I specifically mentioned that Rand Paul has this legislation in the pipeline, but thanks for reading my whole post. No it is not the the direct result “activists”. It’s the direct result of one of the only useful people in Congress who has been principled and consistent on this issue since he’s been in the public spotlight finally seeing an opportunity to push through something after decades of our statist “leaders” gleefully arming and siccing military style police on anyone who refuses to follow their unconstitutional restrictions on personal freedom.

        These activists have zero understanding on the size, scope, or process of the overall problem and their solution has been to assault, burn, threaten and intimidate. They physically threatened the only man that has actually bothered to try to write a law to reign in this bullshit instead of using it to whip their contingent of useful idiots into a frothing frenzy right before the election.

        I could not be more sick of people thinking that holding signs and screaming has accomplished a goddamn thing.

        1. Meant to reply to an earlier response by jacob.

        2. These activists beat and murder people for wrongthink.
          If they get the chance, their police will be far more brutal and unaccountable.
          Doubt that? Because it already happened in Seattle.
          Guess that “black life” doesn’t matter

          1. “Guess that “black life” doesn’t matter”… Not to Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI, it doesn’t! ANY human life that does NOT agree with Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI, has no value!

            Just to fully inform readers here, especially NEW readers…

            Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI is a Holocaust denier just like Rob Misek! (Another evil asshole who posts here). Two peas in a pod, Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI and Rob Misek are!

            Does Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI deny what the NAZIs did? As Misek does? Perhaps not, I do not know HOW far Nadless’s evil goes! It might strut in front of a mirror wearing NAZI gear for all I know!

            What I DO know is that Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI ignores the roots of NAZI, and other, evil, mass-murdering authoritarianism! Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI, like Hitler and the NAZIs and other evil authoritarians, starts out by assuming that Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI knows whose life is worthy, and whose is not! Then Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI moves on to sterilization and killing! It all starts out by denying the value of other human lives! And if Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI (and fellow NAZIs) can’t or won’t see and acknowledge that, Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI is a deluded and EVIL Holocaust denier, same as Rob Misek!

            Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI and its fuckbuddy, Shitsy Shitler, also run around telling people to commit suicide! Even vaguely decent people don’t say things like that! Nor even THOUGHT about saying that to people! Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI is FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond Reapir). But if YOU, Dear Reader, are much like Nadless Nardzi the Nasty NAZI , then take stock of your SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP SOUL, Evil One Junior! Start by reading this: M. Scott Peck, the Hope for Healing Human Evil, https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684848597/reasonmagazinea-20/

            1. Shit, he’s stuck. Somebody give him a kick.

              1. I think someone needs to reboot the bot. The lung flutes aren’t going to hock themselves.

                1. They aren’t going to hawk themselves either…

                  C’mon Reason, is an edit function really that bad?

                  1. You expect them to just lurch into the 21st century like some kind of wild-eyed maniacs?? Sure, “We just want an ‘edit’ function like all the other websites.”, and that’s how it starts.

                    Then, before you know it, there’s “non-negotiable demands” for likes/dislikes and *shudder* THEMES.

                    Jebus, man…

        3. “They physically threatened the only man that has actually bothered to try to write a law to reign in this bullshit”

          I’m sure they had no idea who Ron Paul is or what he stands for. They only saw a white man. And these are the people who have the nerve to call others “racist”.

      4. We probably would. Rand Paul has be consistently putting up criminal justice reform acts his entire time in office. Most of them get shot down

    4. Those “aesthetic preferences of the ruling class” are called laws.
      If you don’t like them, then get enough people together to tell the legislature to change them. But you can’t, because there aren’t enough people that disagree with these laws.
      So stop your childish complaining and realize that, until you get enough people to agree with your position, the laws are going to stay what they are…”non-violent” or not.

      1. The majority support pot legalization and are ignored.

        1. Hell, a guy got elected *over a decade ago!* in no small part because of his attractively-voiced assurances that the Federal prohibition on cannabis would be ended.

          Of course, post-election, when the public was allowed to identify the ONE SINGLE ISSUE THEY MOST WANTED TO SEE ACTION ON, and it was pot, he just chuckled.

          Remember that? Somehow, half a decade before his evil plans had even been hatched, fucking Trump made Obama laugh at his own supporters!! The evil is almost beyond comprehension.

          1. Yeah, Obama’s a fucking, disgusting hypocrite. One of the worst I’ve ever seen. I hate his fucking guts. You expect an argument? From anybody other than Tony and Rev, that is.

  6. The Legal Response to Breonna Taylor’s Death Shows How Drug Prohibition Transforms Murder Into Self-Defense

    No it doesn’t.

    If you are going to make arguments that are this awful, please just cheerlead from the sideline.

    They were executing a search warrant. Someone fired at them. They returned fire.

    That the warrant was for drugs that were not even there only underscores the unnecessary nature of the drug war and the violence it visits upon us.

    It does not transform the entire thing into murder. That’s just stupid. If they had a search warrant for illegal explosives that were actually in fact there, it would make the raid more justified. But things would still play out exactly the same way.

    The argument that the three officers fired a whole bunch more bullets in the aggregate than were fired at them is similarly ridiculous. You don’t shoot a gun to exchange equal weights of lead. You shoot a gun at someone to stop them…. probably by killing them.

    The only thing right about this mess of an argument is that the thing that resulted in an officer getting shot and a woman getting killed is the citizens and their representatives sending LEO to their home in the middle of the night in furtherance of a drug ban. Remove the drug ban and *this* event doesn’t happen.

    But police will still exercise search warrants. And if they are met with gunfire, they will still respond with gunfire.

    That is why this stupid fixation on criminal charges for the officers is so counterproductive. If I put you in that doorway in the middle of the night and someone shoots at you, you would do the same thing (in this case panic fire into the dark at whatever it is that is shooting at you.

    The person to blame is the person who put them there. That is the beginning and the end of the whole thing.

    There was no transformation of murder into self defense. That’s ridiculous.

    But there was a system that killed that woman in her bed. She did nothing to deserve her death. Her boyfriend acted exactly as one would expect one to act. The officers acted exactly as you would expect them to act.

    The answer is not to pretend that a police officer doing exactly what his training tells him to do is somehow a criminal simply because a bunch of people marched outside. The answer is to only use this sort of force when it is necessary. And I think we are all on the same side in believing that keeping people from getting high is not necessary.

    This is every bit as destructive as the stupid “it is because cops are racist” arguments. This derails the conversation. The simple fact that there was a tragic and unnecessary outcome does not mean that anyone acted criminally. (except maybe the judge/prosecutor/detective who prepared the warrant).

    We cannot continue acting like a bunch of children. This is no way to decide public policy. These are adult decisions that require adult discussion. We need to be clear about what the problems are in order to have any chance to find a solution.

    The problem in the Breonna Taylor death was not “crazy, racist police blindly firing into a dark bedroom”. It was not a murder.

    Just as not every car accident that results in death is felony vehicular homicide, not every tragic shooting is criminal. Putting the blame on the cop executing the warrant simply distracts from the real problem. Charging police who are doing their duty exactly as we have asked them to is not in any way helpful, whether the charges were murder, reckless endangerment or disturbing the peace.

    The weight of the state and of public opinion is against us. We have spent years pointing out incidents where police acted outside of the law and outside of their mission and were protected by the system. Perhaps this has caused some to be unable to see the difference between Breonna Taylor and Kelly Thomas, reacting with a programmed response of “The system protects their own” no matter what the facts. But Kelly Thomas was a case of a bad cop and his cohort murdering an innocent person for no good reason and walking away without punishment. Breonna Taylor is an innocent woman who was killed because of tragic circumstances. Punishing the police has no place in that story. Attacking the mission does. Conflating them defeats the entire argument.

    1. This is exactly right. It is the kind of thing that reason should be writing. Sadly, reason hires morons like Sullumn who are incapable of giving an intelligent or an honest opinion about much of anything.

      This case was a tragedy. It is one of those things that can happen occasionally when the police are doing SWAT raids. The less to learn to learn from this case is that since a SWAT raid necessarily creates the risk of something like this happening, police better have a very good reason for doing them and avoid doing such raids whenever possible.

      Drugs whatever you think of their prohibition just isn’t an important enough of a crime or enough of a threat to the public justify these sorts of raids. Some crimes, like murder or terrorism certainly are under some circumstances but not drugs.

      You don’t have to be for legalization to see the stupidity of this. Sullumn is fucking stupid that he manages to screw up an easy argument involving a case that could not be more sympathetic. If you care about law enforcement policy and trying to make law enforcement safer and more just in this country, you should hate idiots like Sullumn’s guts for fucking up the cause by being associated with it.

      1. >>This case was a tragedy.

        a ridiculously avoidable one. someone owes something to someone.

        1. But probably not the three cops who executed the warrant. The one guy firing recklessly was charged with a crime fitting his actions.

          The investigating officers who sought and obtained a no-knock warrant and the judge who signed off on it need to be under the microscope. And the legislators who created a legal framework for no-knock raids in use in drug cases, as well.

          1. >>probably not the three cops who executed the warrant

            one of them caused a dead girl. obviously I wasn’t in the grand jury room so I don’t know what she was doing in the middle of it … but “shooting at the cops” hasn’t come out

            1. They caused the death of the dead girl by returning fire. It’s not a criminal act.

              The criminal act that caused the death was the forced entry, which was requested by the investigating officers and signed off by the judge.

              The officers were executing a tactic that was both legal and accepted, and THAT is the fucking problem. Not the fact that police fired into an apartment after shots first came OUT of that apartment.

              1. >>It’s not a criminal act.

                “someone owes something to someone” is not limited by the penal code. also I agree with your original second paragraph

                1. Taylor’s family got $12M in settlement. Does that satisfy the something to someone?

                  1. yes exactly. thank you I had forgotten.

                  2. The lawyers representing her family want the transcripts of the grand jury’s deliberations released to them. So they apparently have decided that, in their great grief, they failed to monetize some racism somewhere.

                    Not to sound cynical or anything…

                  3. It doesn’t satisfy the first “someone.” The “someone” who owed something turned out to be the taxpayers. Most of whom may not be enthusiasts of no-knock midnight raids or fans of the War on Drugs.

          2. This is exactly what I keep telling all my friends, but none of it will happen.

            1. Still, something is accomplished, when people are justifying violence, arson and looting because “muh police brutality” and you produce a half-dozen practical, realistic reforms that would help both the police and the communities they’re supposed to serve: It shuts them right the fuck up.

              Gotta appreciate the small things. I mean, it’s almost like somebody, somewhere, actually WANTS racial tensions to increase and for policing problems to go unimproved.

              But that would be crazy. Haha. It is to laugh.

          3. I think that microscopic look at the judge is going to reveal no fault. The judge goes by the facts presented, according to the standards of action based on such standards. The judge isn’t an inquisitor.

            Besides, apparently the police didn’t act on a no-knock basis, so even the investigating officers should be off the hook. And would they even be on the hook if it was executed no-knock, if they didn’t fabricate the evidence?

            The legislators, yeah, but really…the voters.

            1. I saw the warrant, and it really should shine a spotlight on the judge. They asked for about six warrants all at once, including Glover’s car and his apartment. Taylor’s apartment was lumped in with that, but they had almost no reason to even request a no-knock warrant to her apartment, much less get one. All they had was her receiving mail that she eventually handed over to Glover. They saw this happen only one time and had done no other surveillance of the apartment.

              The judge signed off on no-knock warrants for all of the locations, even though the affidavits didn’t provide sufficient reason for no-knock warrants to be issued for all locations. The judge shouldn’t have signed off the warrants in bulk because the larger case was stronger than the case for each individual location.

        2. Yes. It’s easily avoidable by not dealing drugs and not associating with drug dealers.

          1. Are you 100% sure that no one you associate with is a drug dealer?

            1. You don’t have to be 100% sure of anything in order for it not to be a realistic concern. If you avoid associating with drug dealers, for practical purposes, you’re going to be fine.

              But FWIW, I’m 100% sure that none of my relationships were with drug dealers.

          2. Don’t be a relative of a drug dealer. And don’t live at an address that the cops might mix up with a drug dealer’s.

            Don’t start tomato plants indoors, because the cops might see you buying the grow lamps and assume you are growing marijuana. Don’t throw out loose tea leaves, because half-witted cops might go through your garbage and think they are marijuana. Don’t have plants growing in your yard, because cops might mistake just about anything for marijuana.

            Don’t have sugar or flour, because cops mis-using field tests for drugs might think they are cocaine or heroin.

          3. In other words, the bitch had it coming, right, Mark?

        3. The family got $12 million from the city and the promise of police reform; that seems like “something”

    2. Standing ovation. Well said sir.

    3. The answer is not to pretend that a police officer doing exactly what his training tells him to do is somehow a criminal simply because a bunch of people marched outside.

      Correct. It’s not because anyone marched.

    4. He also wrote this:

      Those seemingly contradictory decisions reflect Kentucky’s standards for self-defense, which make it possible that Walker and the cops were both legally justified in using deadly force.

      This clearly isn’t about technical subtleties of the law!! Both sides actually WERE actually acting in self defense. The problem is that the officers returned fire or that Walker opened fire. The problem is that the police were given instructions to bust down the door as if they were raiding Bin Laden’s complex.

      There will always be warrants and searches. Sometimes suspects will fire at police. Sometimes police will obtain warrants to search the homes of innocent people. These are all constants.

      What must be done is to ensure that police can’t just bust down doors in order to seize evidence. The only reason to break in is there’s an active threat like someone actively firing shots, or some kind of hostage situation.

      Kentucky banned no-knock raids, but they didn’t ban the “Knock twice after midnight and then bust down the door” raids that may have been the method used by police.

    5. Good post.

      Additionally, prosecuting this guy for murder wouldn’t solve anything anyway. As you said, the system is the problem not any individual. If you don’t remedy the system then this tragic case is bound to repeat again and again.

    6. Simply put: Forced Entry Raids and The Castle Doctrine are not reconcilable.

      Forced entry raids should exclusively be a last resort tool for dealing with immediate exigent circumstances. Armed assailants holding up somewhere. Active shooter situations. An event that is verifiably dangerous to the public. Not middle of the night drug raids based on a woman allegedly holding cash for a dealer. That’s fucking insane.

      Forced entry raids, by and large, no-knock or not, should almost universally be outlawed. It’s a recipe for disaster that legally puts 2 parties in a position where they can rightfully claim self defense, which goes against all reason and Logic.

      1. Both parties can “rightfully” claim self-defense, but the state is going to win. Every. Time.

      2. Nope.
        Both side cannot claim self defense.
        You cannot claim to be able to defend yourself against police acting within their legal parameters, which is what these ones were doing.
        Without the shots coming from the boyfriend, aimed at announced police officers, there would have been no return fire and no death of Breonna Taylor.

        1. “Both side cannot claim self defense.”

          Yes they can. And even the DA in this case agrees. So your opinion that people should immediately become compliant when they hear “Police Open up!!!” in the middle of the night is wrong. (And that assumes that they did hear it in the middle of the night.)

          1. True…. and the point of my post…

            And yet there are plenty of people sitting in jail for life for doing exactly that. Radley Balko introduced us to a few of those horrible cases on these very pages.

      3. That’s true, but you know what observers in other countries, used to those countries’ laws, say? That the problem is that we allow non-police to possess guns — that if only police and criminals have guns, then the innocent won’t get shot by police. The police can still bust in and rough you up, but they can apologize afterward.

        1. Except when they shoot you because your cell-phone or wallet (which they asked to see) looks like a gun to them (multiple cases). Or beat you down and suffocate you because you protested when they arrested you based solely on what one cop _imagined_ he saw (Eric Garner).

      4. Forced Entry Raids and The Castle Doctrine are quite reconcilable, they just sometimes result in death.

    7. “Punishing the police has no place in that story.”

      There’s the tricky issue that some of these raids end up in punishment and some don’t. In 2019, a similar raid took place in Houston (Pecan Park) where a husband and wife were both gunned down under nearly identical circumstances. The officer involved in that case was charged with murder. That couple was white.
      While we know that different grand juries may behave differently on different cases, it is seems fishy every time there’s a discrepancy in outcomes between cases involving different races people like yourself insist this is just a coincidence.

      1. The Houston incident is wildly different. Investigators hired by the family of the victims presented evidence that the victims had not fired any weapons, and there was evidence that the police on scene tampered with evidence. Even worse, evidence indicated that the entire search warrant was based on completely fabricated information.

        The police in the Houston incident were charged because they DEFIED police policies and lied on a warrant, ultimately leading to these deaths.

        In the case of Taylor, there is a clear evidence trail that would lead to police searching her home. They have taped conversations of her discussing holding money for the dealer they were trying to find, and he had been using a car rented by her. The problem wasn’t the police who executed the warrant, but that someone would sign off on a forced entry warrant in the middle of the night just to locate a suspect.

    8. Cyto, the big hole in your argument is that the cops did not kill the person who fired at them. They killed an unarmed noncombatant. That is inexcusable. No, cops are not permitted to blindly panic fire. There should be consequences for individual cops who think that fear for their life allows them to blindly panic fire. They currently do that because of days like yesterday, where judges and prosecutors make sure that cops see no consequence of their actions.

      Police are supposedly there to protect and serve us, the citizenry. They are not there to protect their own lives, everything else be damned. They want to be respected and called heroes? Then they should put their money where their mouths are, accept risk. If a raid seems like it might result in gunfire, maybe they will act a little more carefully when they know they will have to account for every round fired, just like everyone else.

        1. no u, boot polish breath.

      1. That’s just juvenile.

        You do a good job of having empathy for Breonna’s situation.

        But let’s put you in a police uniform. I hand you the warrant for the drug dealer’s drop site. You read the dossier that explains that his known associate lives here with another dude and they are potentially armed and dangerous. I hand you your bullet proof vest and a warrant and send you on your way.

        You draw your weapon as your partner kicks the door in and suddenly there is gunfire from inside. Your partner falls to the ground yelling “I’m hit!”

        You can vaguely see some movement where the shots came from.

        What do you do?

        If you say anything other than “I return fire”, you are a liar.

        And if you claim “I wouldn’t hit the woman that I don’t know is not shooting at me and instead I would hit the dude who ducked behind the bed after hitting my partner, you are just being ridiculous.

        Once that warrant was issued and the order was given to go in the middle of the night, the dice were cast. There was a certain percentage chance that people would be killed for no good reason. Maybe it is one in a hundred.. Maybe one in fifty. Maybe one in a thousand.

        Whatever. It is too damned many for no good reason. That warrant could have been served at three in the afternoon.

        But if you were standing in a door with someone shooting at you and your partners from inside a darkened room you would pull the trigger too. Anyone would.

        Just like you’d pull the trigger if a bunch of armed men came busting through your front door as your girlfriend slept next to you, if you had the chance to get off a shot before they killed you.

        These people were like two cars headed towards each other on a one lane road without headlights. At some point there’s bound to be a collision. But don’t blame the drivers. Blame the people who built the road.

    9. Two quibbles; One – she was not in her bed. She was with the boyfriend in the hallway.
      Two – the boyfriend did not act “exactly as one would expect one to act”. One doesn’t shoot at someone, without knowing who they were and that they meant to harm those inside. The police never intend to harm. They are there to arrest and/or seize drugs. Harm only comes if harm is initiated by the one they are arresting.
      Despite the childish claims of leftists.

      1. If someone is breaking in my door, I am not waiting for them to identify themselves. I am shooting them. And this is absolutely supported in Castle Doctrine states. You may not agree with that, and think it is wrong, but thankfully, the law disagrees with you. I believe you had some advice for people who weren’t happy with the law up above, so you should be good to go.

        1. this guy is a cop or dedicated cop-sucker.

    10. I largely agree with you Cyto, except for one thing. While I agree that Drug bans are a huge problem, the real proximate cause of this is our country’s tolerance for giving police the right to invade a home in the middle of the night.

      Whether we are talking about explosives, drugs, or illegal cash, or trying to capture a fugitive, we should not allow midnight raids of homes in the name of “preserving evidence” or “preventing escape”. Such raids should be allowable ONLY in cases of preventing imminent harm to someone. And if that means a clever bad guy gets away, then so be it. Thousands of dogs and hundreds of people are worth that price.

      1. exactly so.

        Balko used to call it making a peaceful situation violent. Taking a non-violent situation and introducing violence. For no reason.

        The worst is the “dynamic entry” that is *only* predicated on the fear that they’ll destroy the evidence. Who gives a rat’s butt if they flush a half a lid of pot. If it fits down the toilet, it wasn’t worth risking people’s lives over.

        1. “If it fits down the toilet, it wasn’t worth risking people’s lives over.”

          Bingo

    11. Exactly. That’s what distinguishes this from its opposite: the case of Staten Island Man, who was choked to death by police. Some people were trying to turn that into a case against taxes, because he had originally come to the cops’ attention in a tax matter, but no, THAT was entirely about police acting badly. Get rid of taxes, and there’ll still be people acting badly.

    12. Agreed. I have not read the request for the search warrant, so cannot speak to the validity of the entry, in my not-in-any-way-involved opinion. This deconstruction on Sullum’s part is both ignorant and intellectually immature. Not everything needs to be seen through his specific lens of dislikes, but this apparently escapes him.

  7. While I am against the drug war, I don’t think this was the problem here. The timing of the raid was the real problem.

    About 15 years ago I got raided by the police because I bought a package of cold medicine every 3 weeks or so (I took one a day for my allergies).

    I had a dozen cops in body armor on my porch. While they didn’t announce they were police, they did knock loudly and it was in the middle of the afternoon.

    Had they done it in the middle of the night when I was asleep, then knock in the door, then yeah, a similar scenario would have happened, I would likely have grabbed my gun and shot at them, and probably gotten killed.

    So yes, while the drug war is the fault at the highest level, at a lower level was just the poor planning of it.

    1. This raid could have been about stolen cars or check fraud and the same thing would have happened. This isn’t about the drug war. It is about the tactics used by the police.

      1. It’s at least partly about the drug war, since the justification for these types of entries is to prevent suspects from flushing drug evidence.

        There actually ARE justified uses for dynamic entries, but those are when there’s an immediate threat to life. The desire to get more drug convictions is what allowed people to justify using forced entry solely in execution of a search warrant.

      2. It can be both. It’s stupid to place LEO’s and civilians in high pressure life-or-death situations over a substance that, 150 miles down the road, is perfectly legal.
        And I agree that police tactics are an issue.

  8. From my understanding of this affair, correct me should I be in error, The War On Drugs continues to cause casualties, a death in this case. One would think that by this point in tine, The War On Drugs would have been declared over. Sad to note, such is not the case.

    Additionally, it seems that the actions of Louisville Police cannot simply be accepted/described as “stuff happens”. Again, correct me if I’m in error, but there seems to be a great deal to question concerning the time of day or night that the warrant was served.

    Additionally, respecting demonstrations or protests in Louisville, how many of those participating turn out to be from out of town, or could be described as “Traveling Protestors”? One wonders.

  9. It actually didn’t occur to me until yesterday that people would be expecting officers to be on the hook for this. It was clear to me that the officers executing the warrant weren’t the guilty parties. The culprit is the drug war, and the practice of dynamic entries in execution of search warrants.

    But then I realized that the narrative had actually created unrealistic expectations. Apparently a lynch mob had already, in their minds, convicted these officers instead of convicting the system behind this raid. These officers were using a tactic that, while wrong, was both legal and accepted practice in that jurisdiction. It should tell you something about the lawmakers in that jurisdiction, more than it should tell you about the individual officers here. But the narrative was all about the racist police, so the cries for justice were naming these men as culprits.

    It was never reasonable to expect a murder charge here. Anyone who helped bolster that expectation is partly culpable for the riots that followed.

    1. Blindly firing 32 rounds into an apartment and killing an unarmed noncombatant is bad mmmkay? If you or I shot a bystander in the process of self defense, we would be on the hook for it. So should every cop be.

      1. That’s just stupid.

      2. One guy was blindly firing and didn’t hit shit. The other two were firing into the apartment after they’d been fired on. The guy who was firing blindly was indicted..for blindly and recklessly firing.

        The number of shots don’t matter. The only distinction that matters is whether it’s more than zero. If firing 1 shot is reasonable, then firing 10 shots is reasonable. If firing 1 shot is wrong, then firing 10 shots is wrong. There’s never a situation where it’s okay to fire 5 shots but wrong if you fire 7 shots. that fact is so obvious that I feel like an idiot for having to explain it.

        So don’t throw the number of shots in there as if that’s somehow an element of guilt. It’s merely an emotional appeal.

  10. “On these facts, the legal analysis is straightforward. Kentucky allows someone to use deadly force when he “believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death [or] serious physical injury.”

    It’s not quite that straightforward. According to the link, force is only justified when the defendant believes that it is necessary to prevent “the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force”.

    As the article points out, the use of force by Walker was likely lawful. And the cops know that, everybody knows that these warrants create the risk that the occupant will use force to lawfully defend himself.

    So no self-defense.

    1. And the cops know that, everybody knows that these warrants create the risk that the occupant will use force to lawfully defend himself.

      We do know this. And yet somehow this practiced was both legal and accepted at the time the warrant was executed. THAT’S the problem, not the fact that the police returned fire at someone shooting at them.

      They didn’t know if someone was shooting at them because they were cops, because the person just wants to kill someone, or if it’s because they think someone is breaking in. And they can’t know that. The problem is the warrant, not the response to being fired upon.

      1. No, everybody doesn’t know that.
        A legal entry, under the authority of a warrant, never creates a risk of a civilized occupant using force to defend themselves. By virtue of the fact that the entry is lawful, resistance of any kind is unlawful.
        As long as the police identify themselves, which they did, as witnesses corroborate, no resistance is lawful.

        1. “By virtue of the fact that the entry is lawful, resistance of any kind is unlawful.”

          This is completely wrong. The law specifically says that the Defender need only BELIEVE that they are under threat of unlawful harm. The fact that it was a legal warrant doesn’t matter. If you bust down a door at ANY TIME, you are at risk of someone legally shooting you in self defense. Because there is no guarantee that they heard you announce yourself, and no guarantee that they believe you.

          1. Yeah, retiredfire, you are just completely wrong on this one. Nobody is required to be psychic.

            In fact, the fact that people are indeed prosecuted in these situations is the abomination. If you watch the footage of these middle of the night raids and picture what is happening in the home, you would realize that this is an abomination.

            Cops are always wanting us to put ourselves in the “split second decision” moment.

            Well, put yourself in that moment. You are asleep. Some loud nose and yelling wakes you up. As the adrenaline surges and you start to get out of bed, your front door flies open, splinters going everywhere. Several men pour in yelling and screaming over each other, pointing guns.

            If you say that your reaction would be “Oh, those must be police who are lawfully allowed to be here” you are just being dishonest. There’s no way that would be your immediate reaction.

            Police always expect that the people inside have perfect knowledge of everything they did outside. But even in a world where they clearly and patiently announced themselves – one that does not actually exist – there is still a good chance that I would not hear them from inside my house back in my bedroom.

            Mens rea is an important principle in law for a reason.

            1. Stand-your-ground laws coincident with no-knock swat raids for non-violent offenses will obviously cause gun battles where none are needed.

  11. Unfortunately, non of the talking heads on cable news, and very few radio show hosts, have pointed out that the best way to prevent future cases of this gun violence is by ending (or scaling back) disastrous drug prohibition laws or ending no-knock police SWAT raids into people’s homes.

    Instead, the left wing protesters and talking heads blamed the Louisville police, while conservative talking heads and radio jocks defended the actions by police.

    1. >>radio jocks defended the actions by police

      one of the Dallas locals said DRUGS! in his monologue like 58 times to scare all the Oldies listening

  12. Kudos to the KY AG for also ordering an extensive review of police raids, the KY laws that authorize them: to prevent future violent incidences.

    But of course, few very news stories mentioned this key fact.

    1. So that’s all it takes, huh? Someone promises a “task force” to “look at” things and you’re good to go? LOL! Fuck, you’re gullible.

  13. Probably a better response from the cops after Walker shot Mattingly would have been to retreat, shut the door and let some other cops handle it. Walker’s not going anywhere and you could probably negotiate his surrender. Instead, they turned it into an OK Corral and someone’s dead and Hankison’s going to prison for being an imbecile. I generally agree that the drug scourge, bad in itself, has always been made worse by the police.

    1. You’re saying the police should have called…the police? But why, when the police were already there?

      The issue is that they shouldn’t have broken into the home after midnight in the first place. Don’t provoke a home-owner into opening fire on you. But police still will get shot at sometimes anyway, and it’s only sensible to allow them to return fire.

      1. Well after Mattingly was shot the other 2 cops should have been preoccupied with giving him first aid and calling an ambulance. While they’re at it they could bring in the cavalry to flush Walker out of his crib. If they’d done just that, Taylor would be alive, Hankison would still be employed and Louisville wouldn’t be turned upside down.

        1. The whole point of the time and method if the warrant was to prevent destruction of the evidence of crime.
          While doing what you propose, illegal substances could be disposed of, and the later service of the warrant would be greeted with “Drugs? Us? No, there aren’t any drugs here.”
          More childish libertarian thinking.

          1. “While doing what you propose, illegal substances could be disposed of, and the later service of the warrant would be greeted with “Drugs? Us? No, there aren’t any drugs here.””

            Yes and that is a crime. It is a fucking crying shame, because for want of “evidence” society has legitimized the practice of forced entry into houses. Every year this happens thousands of times. Sometimes they get evidence, other times they don’t, but property is damaged, dogs are shot, kids are burned by flashbang grenades thrown into their crib, and many others are killed.

            The desire for Evidence should not give police the power to so recklessly endanger the lives of often innocent bystanders. In fact, even if they *are* guilty of a non-violent crime, the pursuit of evidence based on a simple search warrant is not important enough to endanger even guilty parties.

          2. “illegal substances could be disposed of”

            Yes, they might flush 2 bags of Maui wowie down the toilet. There goes THAT investigation. What a loss for taxpayers. So yeah, the massive gunfight is totally preferable.

            And I’m the childish one?

            1. Guess they could always hoover it down like Fentanyl Floyd did.

        2. Operations do not stop because of casualties. As for ‘the cavalry,’ what do you think would occur if a larger amount of officers respond to a scene where one of their own has been shot? More or less likely to be an issue?

          1. I don’t know, but what I do know is that what the officers did didn’t work out! 32 shots and the guy with the gun wasn’t hit once. A bystander was and several shots just missed some neighbors.

            That takes some excellent marksmanship. Here’s an idea, they could call for backup and get themselves to the range.

  14. Just like the guards of concentration camps, the cops were “just doing their job”.
    Their job is not limited to using “violence to enforce politicians’ pharmacological prejudices.” Their job is to use violence to enforce politicians’ whims.

  15. It may be that the police were within their legal authority to break down the door in the small hours of the morning. They may have given some kind of warning that they were coming in. They may have been within the law to return fire when fired upon. Taylor and her boyfriend may very well have been criminals.

    That still does not make what happened right and just.

    That does not mean the police’s tactics did not create a situation that was dangerous for everyone for a justification of dubious value compared to the risks. it does not mean that the police were justified in resorting to such tactics in this situation. It does not mean the judge was correct in giving them warrant in this case that allowed for such tactics.

    There are still many things to consider if we want the police to behave in this in our names.

  16. When light beer was a chain gang felony with fines worth half a million current dollars, killers with badges routinely shot men women and children in the back on the high seas and even on Canadian territory. Senator Millard Tydings summarized several hundred such cases in “Before and After Prohibition” which anyone can read online. But it was the economic collapses caused by prohibition that got the 18th Amendment repealed.

  17. With that logic, If there were no laws at all there would be no crime.

  18. How else can we enforce the drug laws without violating citizen’s rights?

    1. Drug laws are themselves a violation of citizen’s rights.

  19. “In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant.”

    Why would that matter? It *was* a no-knock warrranted, so breaking in without knocking would be, so to speak, warranted. At least I’d think the positive law would prevent a cop for being prosecuted for that which naturally arises from carrying out a warrant.

    Maybe there were criminal hijinks involved in getting the warrant. It’s happened before.

    It would be nice if judges or magistrates who sign off on no-knock warrants (except in emergencies like, for example, rescuing a kidnap victim) could get prosecuted if it ends in death. Or even if it doesn’t.

    But that would require that the positive law get changed.

    And I suppose that in modern politics, I have to bracket my criticism of the no-knock warrant with a disclaimer that burning, looting and mayhem are wrong. I don’t think I only have to choose one or the other position.

  20. http://twitter.com/ADLavinsky/status/1309312003211747328?s=19

    Folks, I’m backing off. Multiple people threatening to take and break my cameras. Been berated most of the night by a small group of organizers and anarchists.

  21. http://twitter.com/red95hut/status/1309316550768418817?s=19

    Seriously. I’m seeing rioters, I mean protesters, in cities all over the country again tonight with no consequence. Yet, a mother at a kids football game and a outdoor church service goer singing are both CUFFED for not wearing masks. Why are we letting this happen? Why?

  22. http://twitter.com/TheTruthWillDo/status/1309042817575120899?s=19

    Florida just passed a law that if anyone approaches you to halt, threaten or damage your car, you have no liabilities if the offender gets hurt as a result.

  23. http://twitter.com/BGOnTheScene/status/1309307503260438528?s=19

    White people have just been threatened with assault and kicked out of the church sanctuary grounds. Almost all press were demanded to leave as well #Louisville #LouisvilleProtests #BreonnaTaylor

  24. http://twitter.com/BGOnTheScene/status/1309288674933248000?s=19

    Businesses being targeted in downtown Louisville tonight #Louisville #LouisvilleProtests #BreonnaTaylor

  25. http://twitter.com/SVNewsAlerts/status/1309298555513909249?s=19

    BREAKING: Rioters have smashed windows to the #Louisville city library and have thrown a flare inside.

  26. This is the intentional conflating of and corrupt gifting of individual rights to government entities to excuse them of and grant them greater power in their abuse of individuals. Individuals have rights, including the right to self defense. Government entities have NO RIGHTS, only those privileges and duties allowed to and demanded from them.

    Conferring individual rights on government entities is a nearly feudal travesty against individual liberty.

  27. http://twitter.com/CassandraRules/status/1309360578335567872?s=19

    BREAKING: Black Lives Matter Rioters in Hollywood Chase Down and Attack Driver (SHOCKING VIDEO)

    1. MOMENTS AGO: Prius drives through a protest in Hollywood, protestors then chase the vehicle down, smash the windows with a skateboard while attempting to pull the driver out of the car. The driver then speeds away and is pulled over by LAPD and handcuffed. @NBCLA @elianamoreno

  28. http://twitter.com/PTNewsnetwork/status/1309346497603997696?s=19

    Protesters in Los Angeles are caught on camera hitting a truck moments before it accelerates and hits a protester. Protester taken from scene in ambulance. #LosAngeles

    1. Literally, not figuratively, zombies.
      Watch as the truck pulls up and they converge on it like insects

    2. http://twitter.com/TonyHam81338581/status/1309347651834396672?s=19

      To bad the news already clipped there video of it so people could not see them converging on the truck before the person speed off out of self defense. Lucky we where watching it on your feed so they can’t clip yours too

    1. http://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1309371694436372480?s=19

      Outside the @SeattlePD east precinct, the heart of the former CHAZ, #antifa rioters have returned tonight. They started fires on the street. Last night they bashed a cop on the head with a metal bat. Seattle city council voted this week to defund SPD.

  29. Anyone can knock on the door and say they are the police. Why is a citizen obligated to believe someone is a police officer? Especially if the alleged police officers are not wearing a uniform. Even if they were wearing a uniform, anyone can acquire uniforms on line and appear to be a police officer. The law is asinine and defies common sense.

    1. This level of paranoia is not going to pass the “reasonable person would believe” test. Yes; someone might claim to be police or even wear rented uniforms (despite the fact those are felonies) but to assume they might be reminds me of how I felt smoking pot then seeing the police walk into the Denny’s while I was enjoying a late night “snack”.

      1. Fake police raids are a thing. People already planning on home invasion generally dont give two shits about additional felony charges.

      2. It’s not just thieves that pretend to be cops and wear cop uniforms. There have been many rapes by cop impersonators – although it’s likely that there are more rapes by real cops. And there’s at least one mass murder:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine%27s_Day_Massacre

        although the Capone gang were small stuff compared to the FBI and BATF at Waco.

  30. Here are some thoughts:
    Policing has become very aggressive and as a result we have tragic incidents including this one.

    We have a pretty substantial criminal underclass. A group (of mostly men) that have made breaking the law a way of life. The reasons why are important, but we need to acknowledge that they exist.

    If we order the police to be less aggressive, we will probably have more crime. Yes, non-violent drug offenders should not be in jail, but there are a number of predators that won’t become crossing guards overnight because we legalize drugs.

    We have a drug problem in this country which is going hand-in-hand with an increased prevalence of dysfunction. Does everyone think the throngs of homeless people in LA, SF, Seattle, and Portland are just down-on-their-luck ex-factory workers? A lot of them are disturbed and the easy access to drugs heightens their dysfunction

    There are no easy or perfect solutions. A libertarian solution, which I favor, would lead to some better outcomes and some worse ones as well. We would probably have more homelessness and crime. We would have more freedom, which is good in the long-term, but we do not have a solution for the dysfunction that exists among our criminals and mentally ill. Yes, some people can be helped at the margins, but we have a decent-sized group of people that do not fit in a free-society. What do we do about them? I really don’t know.

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  33. There was no “murder” in this case, and Sullum knows it. It’s beyond the pale for Sullum to even suggest it. Imminent domain might be abused and even unconstitutional in some cases, but if officers arrive to evict someone and a firefight ensues, you cannot conflate the two issues when it comes to determining whether the police committed acts of murder.

    I wish libertarians would stop resorting to the ready made “oh if only drug wars ended and all drugs were legal” mantra every time something like this happens. This is the sort of facile reasoning seen from libs, who think crime will disappear if money saved from from defunding cops are invested in communities or that violent police encounters will disappear if we outlawed gun ownership.

    Cops are going to run into armed criminals inside their homes. People can own guns in this country. Period.

  34. Horrible tragedy. But you would think that especially in the case where you’re going to kick in someone’s door that you wouldn’t use plainclothes police. How many of us would just open the door at midnight to someone yelling: “I’m the police!”
    Were there squad cars present at the apartment house with lights on?

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  36. Horrible tragedy. But you would think that especially in the case where you’re going to kick in someone’s door that you wouldn’t use plainclothes police
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  37. The hail of bullets that killed her can be justified only in a country that uses violence to enforce any and every damn thing politicians’ pharmacological prejudices

    believe the unwashed masses should be doing or not doing.FIFY

    Every law on the books, including those that limit how much water your fucking toilet may use per flush, what light bulbs are permissible, etcetera is ultimately backed-up by violence or threats of violence.

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