Some of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor have finally been charged with crimes more than two years after her death. But with a long road ahead for federal prosecutors in getting convictions, those charges are still a reminder that the man who did his best to let them get away with her death, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, is still jockeying for higher office in the state he’s done such a disservice to.
The Feds dropped a hammer on four current and former members of the Louisville Police Department—Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison and Kyle Goodlett—for a series of lies, coverups and a hail of bullets that led to the death of Taylor, a 29-year-old emergency medical technician last year. By now we all know what happened: a group of armed men with badges, we’ll call them not-Louisville’s-finest, busted down Taylor’s door and killed her after her boyfriend opened fire with a legally-owned handgun in self defense.
The Justice Department laid out yesterday in its charging documents how we got there. Jaynes and Meany, LPD detectives, lied in order to obtain the “no-knock” warrant—now illegal under Kentucky law— that was used to justify the raid that ended Taylor’s life. The Justice Department says both men knew that such a raid could lead to violence but weren’t on the scene when their handywork did its damage. Who cares if others are put in danger as long as I won’t be around when the bullets start flying?
Hankison was there, though. He’s the ex-cop who dumped his gun from outside the building, into Taylor’s apartment and apartments that weren’t Taylor’s, through blinds and curtains that he couldn’t even see through. Then there’s Goodlett, who the Justice Department alleges met up with Jaynes after the fact to try to cover up just how bad they fucked up this entire situation. Remember the man targeted by Jaynes’ and Meany’s ill-gotten warrant didn’t even live with Taylor and was already in police custody by the time it played out.
For the most part, none of this is new information. At least the broad outlines of the case laid out by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke on Thursday had already been written about, at The Root and in nearly every other media outlet that covered the case. Whci is to say, everywhere.
Which brings us back to Cameron and the raggedy case he showed a Kentucky grand jury before giving the cops, and more importantly the conservative voters he’s now courting in his gubernatorial run, what they wanted: no charges for anyone involved except Hankison, who was acquitted earlier this year of endangering people not named Breonna Taylor.
A headline in today’s Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper asks, “The DOJ charged 4 Louisville cops in the Breonna Taylor case. Why didn’t Daniel Cameron?” The answer is one of two things: Cameron either didn’t try, because he didn’t want unpopular charges for cops to come back and bite him as he tries to unseat a Democrat as governor, or he tried and, with the full resources of the state at his disposal, still couldn’t convince grand jurors of the even the low bar of probable cause to charge the cops involved.
Either way, the federal charges against the cops that killed Breonna Taylor should remind everyone that Daniel Cameron is a man who didn’t do his job. And folks who don’t do their jobs don’t deserve promotions, especially not to jobs as big as governor of a whole state.