Black community accuses Harris of wavering on Breonna Taylor charges

The NAACP hosted a conversation with vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris last Friday to discuss “the national reckoning” on racism, the coronavirus pandemic and her vision for the future of America.”

CNN Commentator Angela Rye, moderated the event, which included Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, and other leaders.

Rye quizzed Harris about her thoughts on the recent outcome of a grand jury investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse was fatally shot after police broke down the door to her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 13. They were executing a late-night “no-knock” warrant in a narcotics investigation.

“Would you have pressed charges against the three officers involved in the [Breonna Taylor] case?” Rye asked the California senator.

“I don’t know all the details of the case but I will say this: there needs to be transparency about what happened and that family and that community need justice,” Harris replied.

Some members of the black community immediately took umbrage to her response, accusing her of being evasive and non-committal. Others credited her for not reacting with raw emotion and joined her call for patience so that the facts of the case can be determined fully and transparently.

In May Harris tweeted: “I’m calling for the Department of Justice to investigate #BreonnaTaylor’s death. Her family deserves answers.”

The Louisville Metro Police Department had conducted a probe to determine whether six officers involved in Taylor’s death violated department policies.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted former officer Brett Hankison on three felony counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into the homes of Taylor’s neighbors.

The panel decided not to indict Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove and Hankison in the death of Taylor because her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired the first shot in the fatal confrontation.

Cameron said evidence showed Mattingly fired six times, while Cosgrove fired 16 shots. He said both were justified in returning fire after being fired upon.

The attorney general also said the FBI lab confirmed the fatal shot came from Cosgrove but the Kentucky State Police forensic lab said it was not clear who fired the shot.

Both officers remain on the force, but Hankison was fired and is appealing to get his job back. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon before Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Anne Bailey Smith at 3:30 p.m. ET.

He is expected to plead not guilty to the charges. The arraignment is set to take place via audio conference call.

Wanton endangerment is a Class D felony in Kentucky. If convicted on all three charges, Hankison faces between three and 15 years in prison.

After the LMPD decided not to press murder charges against the officers many Black Lives Matter protesters refused to accept the outcome of the investigation and riots erupted all across the country.

Two Kentucky police officers were shot in Louisville last Wednesday night after the announcement. Both survived and are expected to recover.