Steve August 29, 2020
law-professor-makes-opening-statement-against-breonna-taylor’s-killers-in-imagined-trial

It has been more than six months since 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot to death during a no-knock warrant executed in the middle of the night by police in Louisville, KY. We know who the people are who shot so many bullets around her apartment and her neighbor’s that they had to stop to reload their weapons. And yet, they are free. No charges have been brought against the three police officers.

They enjoy complete freedom while Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend and her family have a chasm in their lives that will never be filled.

Well, frequent MSNBC legal analyst, and Georgetown Law professor, Paul Butler, knows it should not be that way. He released a video of what would be his opening argument in front of a judge and jury, if justice prevailed. If Breonna Taylor’s killers were arrested. Charged. Brought to trial. Judged by a jury. And it is a thing of deep, abiding idealism. What we could accomplish if justice were appropriately meted out.

PROF. BUTLER: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must convict of second-degree manslaughter if you find that these men disregarded a substantial risk that when you shoot up an apartment complex, that you’re going to hurt innocent people. The evidence will show that the officers knew that when they blindly fired twenty bullets into eight different rooms in two different apartments, they knew that there was a big chance that innocent people would be harmed. Sergeant Hankinson wasn’t even in the apartment when he fired his gun. He was shooting through a patio door that was closed and covered. He couldn’t see who or what he was shooting. His own boss, Chief of Police, said that Hankinson displayed, and I’m quoting, “extreme indifference to human life.”

It’s ten minutes long so I am not going to include the transcript here. Trust, though — it’s powerful, compelling, and absolutely unassailable. Watch it yourself. I promise. If you were on that jury, he would have you on his side by the end of it.