Scores of celebrities and public figures joined the chorus of voices crying out on Wednesday after a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, declined to return murder charges against any of the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot in her home in the early hours of March 13 after Louisville police served a “no-knock” warrant and entered her apartment with a battering ram. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 and shot at the intruders in self-defense with a registered gun, striking one officer. The plainclothes officers responded by firing more than two dozen times, killing Taylor. Police believed a suspect in a drug ring ― who did not live there and, as they later learned, had already been arrested ― was having packages delivered to that address.
Authorities announced Wednesday that no charges would be filed against two of the white officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove. The other police officer on the scene, Detective Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
But not for the shots fired inside Taylor’s home. The charges were related to the bullets that penetrated neighboring apartments.
“There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who have never lived in Kentucky who try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said when announcing the decision on Wednesday. “But they do not.”
Celebrities, influencers and activists did indeed express their disdain, including George Clooney, who said that as a Kentucky native, he was ashamed of the decision.
“I was born and raised in Kentucky. Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month,” Clooney said in a statement provided to several news outlets.
“The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions. Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong. I’m ashamed of this decision.”
Other prominent politicians, activists and Hollywood figures, including Kerry Washington, Padma Lakshmi, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Dan Levy, Colin Kaepernick, Mia Farrow, Ava DuVernay, Bernice King and Viola Davis, spoke up:
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