No justice in Kentucky, no peace in Trump’s America

Voice of the People by James J. Devine

There is a national awakening going on as citizens angrily recognize that police brutality is almost never punished, even when the lives of innocent people are lost to senseless and unprovoked violence.

By throwing gasoline on the fire, apparently hoping to gain some political advantage, President Donald Trump seems to justify his reputation as the Lord of Chaos, the Antichrist, whose emergence on the world stage may foment the end of the world.

Hours after a Kentucky grand jury declined to bring charges against Louisville police involved with Breonna Taylor’s death, protesters took to the streets and two officers were shot and wounded.

People gathered on streets saw two Louisville Metro Police Department officers get shot.

Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Larynzo Johnson was arrested but did not offer details about whether the suspect in custody was participating in the demonstrations expressing anger over the killings of Black people by American police.

Maj. Aubrey Gregory, who was shot in the hip, has been treated and released from the hospital. Officer Robinson Desroches underwent surgery after he was shot in the abdomen.

Both officers are expected to recover.

President Donald Trump was asked about the case during a news conference on Wednesday evening and he praised Kentucky’s Black attorney general, Republican Trump supporter Daniel Cameron, as a “star.”

He did not answer questions about what he thought of people upset by the grand jury’s findings.

Trump’s support for law enforcement amid protests against racial injustice across the country, equating violence with the far more numerous peaceful demonstrations, counters his vocal demand for “law and order.” So do his deeds.

The president ordered federal agents to violently remove people from an area outside the White House when he wanted to get a photo of himself holding a Bible at a nearby church.

Trump has also given clemency and pardons to politically connected criminals, including former of Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio.

The Arizona lawman was accused of numerous types of police misconduct, including abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, criminal negligence, abuse of suspects in custody, improper clearance of cases, racial-profiling, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations.

The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct.

Civil lawsuits brought by citizens against Arpaio alleging illegal arrest, wrongful death, entrapment and other claims, cost taxpayers in Maricopa County over $140 million during his tenure as sheriff.

Arpaio could be the poster boy for what is wrong with law enforcement but as the movement instead memorializes the victims of police violence, officials encounter these legitimate grievances with excessive force.

In these cases, Trump’s “tough on crime” rhetoric will not bring a more humane approach to the justice system. It is entirely the wrong thing to say in support of the entirely wrong thing to do.

The officers who were shot had been investigating reports of gunfire.

FBI Louisville said a SWAT team responded to the scene and will assist in the investigation.

Several shots rang out as protesters in downtown Louisville tried to avoid police blockades, moving down an alleyway as officers deployed chemical weapons.

People covered their ears, ran away and frantically looked for places to hide as police armed with rifles and shotguns swarmed the area, followed by officers clad in riot gear and operating military-style vehicles who blocked off roadways.

Police said witnesses at the seen saw the gunman firing his weapon and he was immediately arrested. Johnson will be arraigned on September 25 at 9 a.m.

The episode started after prosecutors said two officers who shot and killed Taylor in her bed were justified in using deadly force.

Authorities claim the police fired weapons to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend, but in a 911 call made moments after Taylor was shot to death by police, Kenneth Walker can be heard saying to a dispatcher: “I don’t know what is happening. Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that city officials and Breonna Taylor’s attorneys agreed to a $12 million settlement.

“I would never knowingly shoot a police officer,” said Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, as his attorneys filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department on Sept. 9, 2020.

The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.

The FBI is still investigating potential violations of federal law in connection with the raid at Taylor’s home on March 13.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for Taylor’s family, denounced the decision as “outrageous and offensive,” and protesters shouting, “No justice, no peace!” immediately marched through the streets.

Scuffles broke out between police and protesters, as demonstrators marched through parts of downtown Louisville.

Demonstrators also marched in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was repeatedly shot by white police officers who entered her home to search with a warrant connected to a suspect who did not live there.

No narcotics were found inside but Taylor was called collateral damage in the war against drugs.

Taylor’s murder is a consequence not only of outrageous police conduct but also of the misguided, decades-long ‘war on drugs,'” said Cynthia Tucker. “It has fostered a lawless climate within the criminal justice system, a climate that misrepresents arrests as security, low-level dealers as drug kingpins and imprisonment of non-violent drug offenders as ‘victory’ over the illegal drug trade.”

She pointed out that “since then-President Richard Nixon declared illegal drug use (not poverty or racism or systemic inequality) ‘public enemy number one’ in 1971, the United States has spent approximately one trillion dollars in its war on drugs.”

State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that while the officers had a no-knock warrant, the investigation showed they announced themselves before entering.

Other facts suggest Taylor and her boyfriend had no idea what was happening when their home was invaded, Walker’s contemporaneous 911 call among them.

As with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor’s case provoked nationwide protests over entrenched racism. Americans demanding police reform have taken to the streets, as they are entitled to do.

Taylor’s image has been painted on streets, emblazoned on protest signs and silk-screened on T-shirts worn by celebrities.

Several prominent African American celebrities joined those urging that the officers be charged.

Instead of answering those calls with justice, the police misconduct was excused and people who a political agenda are making excuses.

“Even as anarchists mindlessly tear up American cities while attacking police and innocent bystanders, we Republicans do recognize those who work in good faith towards peace, justice, and equality,” said Cameron during his speech at the GOP convention. “Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts, but neither will we accept an all-out assault on Western civilization.”

If Republican politicians cannot distinguish American citizens peacefully demanding justice from an all-out assault on Western civilization, they can only spread the fire instead of quenching it.

I reject the notion that this is a case of confusion. Republican politicians are willing to sacrifice the lives of American citizens in order to secure votes, because they are the ones waging an all-out assault on Western civilization.

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