“I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly wrote in an email to his fellow officers. Mattingly was one of three Louisville officers involved in the botched drug raid and subsequent murder of Breonna Taylor in March.
The officers were attempting to serve a no-knock warrant, which was related to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, and eventually entered the home through the use of a battering ram. Taylor’s current boyfriend, who was in the apartment with Taylor, fired a shot thinking they were intruders. The officers returned fire.
Taylor, the 26-year-old aspiring nurse, was shot eight times.
For one to murder an innocent human being and believe that they have the moral high ground implies the existence of extensive underlying issues—issues embedded deep within the system for which these officers were working.
It seems that these officers were taught that, in the correct circumstance, murdering an innocent individual is more than permissible—it is the “legal, moral and ethical thing.”
The system failed to provide these officers with proper guidance and training. It failed to equip these officers with the resources they needed to safely and effectively police. It failed to accurately and timely collect and analyze the data and evidence surrounding the officers’ whereabouts and use of force. It failed to hold the officers accountable.
These deficiencies—systemic deficiencies—along with exceptionally poor judgment led to the murder of an innocent individual, one of the most heinous crimes the police force was designed to prevent.
When a system openly and unapologetically commits one of the very acts that it was created to stop, there is an obvious and desperate need for reform.
No one should harm those whom they are sworn to protect.
No one should live in fear of those who are sworn to protect them.