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Douglas Andrews / Sep. 24, 2020

Justice, Then Violence, in Louisville

Breonna Taylor's death was tragic, but that doesn't mean the cops were wrong, or that justice wasn't served.

Much of the news out of Louisville last night wasn’t really news at all. The violence and the protests, for example, were sadly predictable. But three things stood out: the firm but reassuring voice of Kentucky’s young attorney general, the continued deadly targeting of law enforcement professionals nationwide, and the fact that Breonna Taylor’s death wasn’t the result of a “no-knock” police raid.

Let’s take last things first. For months, most Americans have been under the assumption that Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman who was shot and killed in her apartment by police on the night of March 13, was the victim of overzealous and unannounced cops kicking in her door and shooting up the place. This no-knock raid narrative was embraced and endlessly exploited by the Marxists at Black Lives Matter and by those on the Left generally. And it was all a lie.

Three Louisville officers were at Taylor’s apartment home to execute a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation. As Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made clear in a statement issued yesterday, “Evidence from [the Special Prosecution Unit’s] investigation 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 near in proximity to Ms. Taylor’s apartment. When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to the apartment, the decision was made to breach the door.”

Anyone inclined to criticize the three officers for what happened next should try earning a badge and grabbing a gun. Our nation’s cops are expected to make split-second life-or-death decisions, and they’re being demonized and targeted by the very people who rely on them for protection. AG Cameron’s statement continues, “After breaching the door, Sergeant Mattingly was the first, and only officer, to enter the residence. Sergeant Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and female. In his statement, he says that the male 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 and his two fellow officers then returned fire. One of them, according to Cameron’s statement, “fired his weapon 10 times — including from outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window. Some bullets traveled through apartment four and into apartment three, before some exited that apartment. At the time, three residents of apartment three were at home, including a male, a pregnant female, and a child.”

That officer, a detective since fired, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment, a Class D felony. The other two officers were determined to have been justified in their use of force after having been fired upon, and therefore weren’t charged.

As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes, “Police will be relieved that no charges were brought against Sergeant Jon Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, whose shots in the dark chaos struck Ms. Taylor only after the officers were fired upon by her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker — who himself may have been justified, in the confusion, in shooting at what he says he believed was an intruder. The cops were doing their job in executing a lawful search warrant at a location that was quite justifiably tied to a notorious criminal — Ms. Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.”

The remarks of AG Cameron at his press conference are here, and they’re well worth reading. They were heartfelt, empathic, and thoroughly professional. “The truth is now before us,” he said. “The facts have been examined, and a Grand Jury, comprised of our peers and fellow citizens, has made a decision. Justice is not often easy. It does not fit the mold of public opinion, and it does not conform to shifting standards. It answers only to the facts and to the law.”

Cameron’s words, unfortunately, weren’t enough to quiet The Mob or keep it from acting with wanton disregard for the law. Last night, two Louisville cops were shot. The cops’ injuries are non-life threatening, however, and a suspect has been arrested.

Here, AG Cameron’s words were most prophetic: “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice.”

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