When the Ravens released a comprehensive statement in August with six action items to combat racial inequality in America, arresting the three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor was at the forefront of the list.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot and killed in March after Louisville police officers served a warrant at her apartment. Her name has become a rallying cry in protests against racial inequality that have swept the nation.
A grand jury on Wednesday charged one of the officers, Brett Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots that went into another home with people inside. But jurors didn’t indict any of the officers on charges directly related to Taylor’s death, sparking protests nationwide Wednesday over the killings of Black people at the hands of police. Two officers were shot and wounded Wednesday night during the demonstrations in Louisville.
While the Ravens have yet to discuss the decision as a team, safety Chuck Clark and quarterback Lamar Jackson expressed their disappointment in the grand jury’s outcome.
“Personally, I mean, it sucks,” Clark said Thursday on a video conference call. "Because as a team, that was one of the first things that we put out as our mission statement, to have those cops arrested. And just to hear the verdict that came down from that, and there’s no justice to it. It’s almost like we — and when I say we, not just the Ravens, I’m talking about everybody across the country — it’s almost as if we let her down in that situation. For somebody to be in their house sleep and for that to happen to them, unarmed, it’s as if we let her down in that situation. My prayers go out to her family, dealing with that and hearing that yesterday.”
In addition to arresting the officers involved in Taylor’s death, the Ravens called for the arrest of the officers responsible for the August shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The team is also pushing for the Senate to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to a floor vote, the support of national standards of care in policing and further prison reform, along with encouraging people to register to vote.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the other two officers were justified in firing their weapons because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had fired one shot at them. Walker has said that he didn’t know the police were at the door, and he fired a “warning shot,” thinking it was an intruder.
Cameron said that while the officers had a no-knock warrant, the investigation showed they announced themselves before entering. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
Jackson, who spent three years at the University of Louisville, called the residents coming to terms with the decision “goodhearted people” and said, “I know they’re going through a lot right now.”
“We’ve got other things in the world that get justice that don’t really need justice," Jackson said, "but people want to push that issue a lot more than our Black lives that [matter], Breonna Taylor being one of them. It’s crazy, we never get justice for serious things on our side of the park. We’re in America, where it should be freedom of speech, the land of the free, but I don’t really feel like it’s been that way for us Black people sometimes.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.