1 Officer Charged, 2 Cleared in Shooting Death of Breonna Taylor, Grand Jury Decides
Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Louisville, Ky., on March 13
Hollywood A-listers are reacting after no police officers were charged with the death of Breonna Taylor.
On Wednesday, dozens of celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Mandy Moore and Dan Levy, among many others, posted on social media after the grand jury ruled that former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison was to be charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly firing bullets that risked injury to persons in adjacent apartments.
Taylor, a 26-year-old aspiring nurse, was shot to death by police officers while sleeping in the bedroom of her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 13.
None of the three officers involved — Det. Miles Cosgrove, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Hankison — were charged with the fatal shooting.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Instagram; Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Kerry Washington; Breonna Taylor; Oprah Winfrey
Winfrey, 66, tweeted that she is thinking of Taylor's mother during this difficult time, writing, "My heart goes out to Tamika Palmer, who has to be reminded, again and again, that her 'baby won’t be coming through that door.'"
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) September 23, 2020
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 23, 2020
Washington, 43, shared her own Twitter post where she specifically called out Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and called upon her followers to vote in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
"Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump’s short list as replacement of #RGB on the Supreme Court," she wrote. "The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor. Vote."
Davis, 55, expressed her outrage over the decision, tweeting, "Bulls--- decision!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times."
Bulls--- decision!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times. https://t.co/HOrDQzHJ0d
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 23, 2020
LeBron James shared emotional sentiments following the news in several tweets.
"I’ve been lost for words today! I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad! We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life. Was I surprised at the verdict. Absolutely not but damnit I was & still am hurt and heavy hearted!" the NBA star wrote, adding that he was sending love to Taylor's family.
Expressing more thoughts on the matter, James later posted a tweet saying that the Black woman is "the most disrespected person on earth."
"I promise you I’ll do my best to change this as much as I can and even more!! LOVE to you QUEENS all over this country and beyond!" he wrote.
I’ve been lost for words today! I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad! We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life. Was I surprised at the verdict. Absolutely not but damnit I was & still am hurt and heavy hearted! I send
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams, who has previously been arrested at a Louisville protest in July and August, shared a photo of Taylor on Instagram, writing, "You deserved so much more #BreonnaTaylor ! I am praying for your mother Tamika and the rest of your family today."
"As hard as this verdict is for us to digest, I can’t imagine how she must feel," she continued. "Shame on America’s racist justice system. Will I be next?? This has to change ! #NoJusticeNoPeace 💔🙏🏾."
You deserved so much more #BreonnaTaylor ! I am praying for your mother Tamika and the rest of your family today. As hard as this verdict is for us to digest, I can’t imagine how she must feel. Shame on America’s racist justice system. Will I be next?? This has to change ! #NoJusticeNoPeace 💔🙏🏾
A post shared by #PorshaWilliams (@porsha4real) on Sep 23, 2020 at 2:07pm PDT
— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) September 23, 2020
Mandy Moore similarly posted that she doesn't "have the words," alongside a news report of the decision.
"#BreonnaTaylor and her family deserve justice," she tweeted.
Common also shared his thoughts in a series of tweets, including one which stated, "JUSTICE. FOR. BREONNA. TAYLOR.," among other videos with quotes from activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
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— dan levy (@danjlevy) September 23, 2020
Schitt's Creek's Levy, 37, encouraged fans to donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund in his own tweet, which raises money for protestors jailed as unrest builds up in the city in response to the decision.
"Disgusted. Enraged. Heartbroken. Please contribute if you can. Justice should not be a luxury. #BreonnaTaylor," he said.
Alicia Keys later tweeted her reaction to the news, alongside a tweet from the American Civil Liberties Union.
"This is is a PRIME example of Rotten to the CORE!!!" she wrote. "UnJust!!!! Disrespectful and BLATANT DISREGARD!!!! Infuriated!!!!!!!"
This is is a PRIME example of Rotten to the CORE!!! UnJust!!!! Disrespectful and BLATANT DISREGARD!!!! Infuriated!!!!!!! https://t.co/TWVeV8Q3rp
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) September 23, 2020
He added, "A woman's life was lost for absolutely nothing."
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 24, 2020
Hankinson was fired in May after receiving a termination letter saying he "wantonly and blindly" shot 10 times into Taylor's apartment.
The three counts of wanton endangerment against Hankison are class D felonies, punishable by up to 5 years for each count if convicted.
Earlier this month the City of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, in a wrongful death lawsuit. When the settlement was made public, the mayor addressed Palmer directly at a news conference, saying, "I cannot begin to imagine Miss Palmer's pain, and I'm deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death."
Taylor's death drew widespread outrage, and interest in her case grew after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Kentucky native Jennifer Lawrence and more publicly rallied around Taylor's case and called for the officers to be charged.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.