The below is lifted almost in it’s entirety from Grim’s Hall, as he wrote an astounding piece on today’s events, and the implications for the future murder of Citizens. I’ve added a few thoughts at the end.
With the recent acquittal of two of the two detectives in the raid on the apartment of Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, things are going to get violent in Louisville tonight (and apparently already have). And I think we can all agree that while anger may be appropriate, burning and looting the town is not (and would not ever solve anything). But I have some things to say about the incident that sparked this, and I’ll put them below the fold.
So to begin with, I think this should terrify any and all lawful gun owners in Louisville, if not Kentucky or the rest of the country. If the police can secure a warrant to raid your home based upon nothing other than your past associations (indeed, no other evidence has ever been presented as to why a no-knock warrant was issued by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mary Shaw less than 12 minutes after it was requested to justify such a warrant), and execute that warrant after midnight (a time when most of us would be sound asleep) by breaking in the door, then I think it’s likely that this will happen again and again, and more innocent home owners will believe themselves victims of a robbery and fire at police drawing lethal retribution.
Put yourself in Kenneth Walker’s shoes. Just before 1am, you hear the sound of your front door being smashed in. You dial 911 to report a break-in and grab your (lawfully owned) firearm and go to confront the intruders. You do not see uniformed policemen, or SWAT members, but three plainclothed people in the dark of your home, and they’re armed. How unreasonable is it to believe them to be intruders intent on doing you and your partner harm? How unreasonable is it to shoot? So shoot he did. One shot that injured one of the officers in the leg. They responded by firing no less than twenty times into the bedroom, hitting Breonna at least 8 times. Their shooting was in fact so indiscriminate, that several of their shots went into the neighboring apartment where a pregnant woman and her 5 year old child were sleeping. At this point, the police finally identify themselves as such and Kenneth surrenders (he was temporarily arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but those charges were wisely dropped by the DA about two months later).
There is some dispute as to whether the police announced themselves before breaking down the door. Kenneth and the neighbors say the police did not. The police and the Kentucky AG says they did. I am inclined to take the word of the neighbors and Kenneth Walker that they did not hear any such announcement. After all, at 12:45am, I doubt I’d be able to make out what words were shouted before hearing my door break down. I suspect it would simply register to my waking brain as “shouting”. Either way, here is where I come down on this issue. There is no reason to break down doors and execute “dynamic entry warrants” short of a hostage situation, or an armed terrorist hiding out in a building. Even the police do not dispute that what they were looking for was drugs. And not a horde of drugs from some kind of drug kingpin, but a from a small time dealer (namely drugs from Breonna’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover who had been previously arrested the night of the raid). There was no evidence that he had given drugs to Breonna, that drugs had been sold from Breonna’s apartment, or that any current relationship even existed between Breonna and her drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. So what could possibly justify such an early morning raid on a residence?
I’ve been asked many times why I support legalization of drugs. And I have many (truthful) answers. No, I have never used any illegal drugs (save for underage alcohol consumption when I was under 18-19… *gasp!*), and no I have no desire to do so in the future, but I do believe that we could get much of the crime out of the drug trade by decriminalizing it in the same manner we got organized crime out of the liquor business by abolishing Prohibition. But I want to add to that now. I also want to decriminalize drugs because of raids like this. The idea that it’s SO dangerous that a criminal might flush their drugs in a toilet, that it’s critical to allow police to break down doors, primed to shoot any and all opposition in the house in order to prevent that is contemptuous. That we value a drug arrest so much that human lives (innocent or otherwise) are less important.
This is not a case of “well, they shouldn’t have broken the law” or “well, they shouldn’t have resisted arrest”. This is a case of a man defending his home and partner from what he very reasonably assumed was a pack of intruders. After all, neither he nor Breonna were engaged in illegal activities (which police have confirmed), so why should he expect police to smash down his door at 1am? And why should you expect police to break down your door? You wouldn’t. Neither did Kenneth Walker. And Breonna Taylor paid the ultimate price for it. One day it could be you. This needs to stop.
*Bolding emphasis mine.
I would add to the argument for decriminalization, that I don’t believe it to be the purview of the State to tell a Citizen what they may put in their body, anymore than to tell them they cannot engage in an otherwise lawful act, but for monetary compensation [prostitution].
I have no animus against law enforcement in general [even with the spate of LEOs murdering dogs], as often they are merely the arm of the prosecutors…….but god dammit…..we need to assert our Rights as Citizens to not be subjected to arbitrary tyranny by armed agents of the State,