While authorities say they don’t know when Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron will announce his findings in the Breonna Taylor case, Louisville’s mayor and the Louisville Metro Police Department both declared a state of emergency early Tuesday, shutting off access to the city’s downtown in preparation for riots and violence that may take place once the grand jury’s findings are released.
Cameron’s office has been investigating Taylor’s death for several months, but the process has been shrouded in secrecy, and there are a wide range of potential announcements that could come from his office. Some sources have stated anonymously that Cameron has already presented his findings to a grand jury, so the AG could release any indictments handed down, but it’s also possible that Cameron could come out and announce that his office will present their case to a grand jury in the future. There’s also the chance that Cameron could have determined that there’s no need for a grand jury to investigate Taylor’s death, which took place on March 13th when police conducting a drug raid on her apartment opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired a shot. Walker claims he never heard police announce themselves, and that he believed he was firing at home invaders.
The city of Louisville itself just agreed to a $12-million settlement with Taylor’s family, but activists have been demanding the arrest of the officers involved, claiming that the officers should face second degree manslaughter charges at a minimum.
In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer called for calm in advance of any announcement by Cameron.
“Again, we do not know when the announcement will come, but we must prepare for it. Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement,” Fischer’s statement, sent at 12:47 p.m., said. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”
As city officials lock down the downtown area in anticipation of violence, some Louisville residents are seeking peace of mind by purchasing a firearm.
On Tuesday afternoon I spoke with Derrick Meyers, the owner of River City Firearms in Louisville, who said his phone has been “ringing off the hook” from residents anxious to get ahold of a gun for self-defense. Meyers added that like virtually every other gun store in the country, his supply of firearms has been greatly reduced because of months of high demand. “I’d normally have about 1,000 guns here,” he told me during a conversation Tuesday afternoon, “but right now I’m down to about 100.”
I truly hope that whatever Daniel Cameron announces, cooler heads will prevail. Louisville has already been rocked by violence during the past few months of protest, with at least one death and several individuals shot in separate incidents this summer. The violence has spread far beyond the site of the protests, riots, and looting in downtown. Across Louisville more than 120 people have been murdered this year, a record high homicide rate for the city, and we still have three more months to go.
I hope that cooler heads will prevail, but I’m not confident that’s going to be the case. Since the barricades are already going up across the downtown area, I’m guessing that city officials aren’t too confident that any protests will remain peaceful either.
In my earlier piece about the agitators in Portland who’ve begun moving into neighborhoods since their destruction of the city’s downtown hasn’t brought about their desired results, I quoted a guy named Stephen Green, who says it’s time for accomplices, not allies.
Mr. Green said that he opposed the destruction of property, but that he also understood it. And he believes, generally, that the more direct protest tactics in residential areas are working because they make the movement more personal, and reveal who truly supports change.If someone is against the movement, they keep their lights off or refuse to raise their fist, he said, adding that taking the debate into homes and to families is essential.
Have Louisville officials have considered the possibility that with access to downtown shut off, those would-be revolutionaries might find it easier to engage in their acts of destruction in the city’s residential neighborhoods instead? Things could get really squirrelly if the mob decides to vent its collective anger on occupied homes rather than deserted businesses. When you have a movement that calls for a violent overthrow of the existing order, at some point the adherents of that ideology aren’t going to be satisfied with busting up a Starbucks.
Breonna Taylor’s death was a tragedy, and I have many questions about how and even why the raid on her home happened in the first place, given that the subject of the warrant (Taylor wasn’t mentioned in the document) had already been located elsewhere before the raid took place. I believe Kenneth Walker when he says that he and Taylor thought home invaders were coming through the door of the apartment, and that he didn’t hear police announce themselves. Why would a guy with no criminal record and no reason to suspect that police were bursting through the door of his girlfriend’s home make the spur-of-the-moment decision to blindly engage in a shootout with cops? That makes no sense to me.
It’s pretty clear, though, this wasn’t a premeditated killing on the part of the Louisville police officers conducting the raid. Officers responded to being fired upon, and to me the most likely explanation is that Taylor didn’t hear police announce themselves and believed he was acting in self-defense and defense of his girlfriend. This can be a tragedy without being an injustice, and those voices who are calling for the city to burn if the officers aren’t charged with murder aren’t seeking justice for Breonna Taylor. They’re hoping to commit a few injustices of their own.
Kentucky’s governor, Democrat Andy Beshear, has already said he’s ready to call out the National Guard, and given that Democrats have been increasingly trying to pose as the real law-and-order party, he’s going to be under a good deal of political pressure within his own party to stop any violence before it begins. At the same time, a good chunk of the Left has yet to realize how toxic their ideology has become to the average American, and they’ll view sending out the Guard as a provocation. I’d like to think that Beshear follows his political instincts and cracks down on any violence in Louisville, but given what we’ve seen from virtually every elected Democrat in a position to stop the violent mobs, that’s probably just the small bit of the eternal optimist left in me talking.