A Kentucky grand jury declined to charge three police officers for killing Breonna Taylor.

By Rachel Yang
September 23, 2020 at 07:17 PM EDT
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Rachel Murray/Getty Images; Breonna Taylor/instagram; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Kerry Washington, Ava DuVernay, Dan Levy, and more celebrities are reacting to the news that none of the three officers in Breonna Taylor's case were directly charged for her death, six months after police fatally shot the 26-year-old Black woman in her home in Louisville, Ky.

The Jefferson County grand jury voted to indict one of the officers, Brett Hankison, for “wanton endangerment” for shooting into Taylor’s neighbors’ homes during the raid on March 13. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the use of force by two other officers in the case was “justified” to protect themselves. Taylor was shot five times by police, who claimed they identified themselves before entering her home, a fact disputed by Taylor's boyfriend who was with her at the time, as well as 11 other witnesses.

Taylor's case caught nationwide attention and spurred protests in numerous major cities, and high-profile celebrities like John Legend, Demi Lovato, and Beyoncé have pushed officials to charge the three officers. On Sunday, both Regina King and Uzo Aduba wore shirts honoring Taylor while they accepted their respective Emmy Awards.

Following today's grand jury decision, Little Fires Everywhere star Washington specifically criticized Cameron and called on her followers to vote in November.

"Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump’s short list as replacement of #RGB on the Supreme Court," she wrote. "The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor. Vote."

"God bless Breonna’s family and all who knew and loved her. Her tragic death compounded by the violence of silence and inaction by the city she called home is more than any of them should have to endure," Duvernay tweeted. The director has championed racial justice and highlighted issues in the criminal justice system through projects like Selma, 13th, and When They See Us. 

Schitt's Creek actor and co-creator Levy also encouraged fans to donate to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, which raises money for protestors jailed as unrest erupts in the city in response to the decision.

"Disgusted. Enraged. Heartbroken. Please contribute if you can. Justice should not be a luxury. #BreonnaTaylor," Levy said.

"What is most insulting is that the recommended charges aren't even in response to the MURDER of Breonna Taylor, but to the POTENTIAL injury of other people in the apartment," grown-ish star Yara Shahidi wrote, adding later, "'No knock warrants' feels analogous to the experience of being Black in America ... The unsolicited intrusion of racism and violence dealt with on a daily basis."

A Black Lady Sketch Show writer and actress Ashley Nicole Black said the ruling on Taylor's death was a reminder that for others, Black lives "don’t matter in so many ways."

"But Black people, Black women, we matter," she added. "We have value. We affirm and take care of each other, even when no one else will."

Kentucky native George Clooney issued a statement to The New York Times in response to the Kentucky attorney general warning that celebrities and activists reacting to the news don't understand the case or the community. “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. 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.”

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