On 23 September it was announced that a grand jury in the US state of Kentucky had indicted only one of the three police officers — Brett Hankinson, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — involved in the murder of healthworker Breonna Taylor in March.
And, surreally, Hankinson was indicted not for shooting Taylor but for firing at a neighbouring home.
Protests demanding justice have flared across the country.
Mattingly wrote that “I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night”… The “legal, moral and ethical thing” was spraying 32 bullets into Taylor’s home, in response to a single shot her boyfriend fired after the police broke in with a battering ram (he reports they refused to identify who they were). Six of the shots hit Taylor.
Louisville Metro Police Department has sacked Hankinson and the city authorities have agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12m and reform policing policies. The grand jury decision shows the degree of resistance to police actually being put under pressure to operate differently, as well as shocking indifference to the killing of a black woman.
It also stands in stark contrast to how easily poor, and particularly black and brown, Americans are charged and incarcerated.
Since last week there have been hundreds of protests demanding justice for Taylor. Louisville has been placed under a curfew and state of emergency, with many dozens arrested. In other cities too protesters have faced arrests and brutal police violence.
• More in our Women’s Fightback column in June here