The Police Tactics That Caused Breonna Taylor’s Death Should Infuriate Second Amendment Advocates
Gun-rights groups understandably are upset that a Louisiana public school punished a fourth-grade student after a teacher saw a BB gun in the boy’s bedroom during a video classroom session. That was an absurd case of political correctness, given that the gun merely was in the background. It reflects infuriating anti-gun bias.
Now contrast many gun activists’ reaction—or apparent lack thereof—to a more significant gun-related issue that grabbed headlines the same week. A grand jury in Louisville gave a wrist slap to officers who killed Breonna Taylor during a raid at her home. The African-American medical worker hadn’t done anything wrong. The drug-related warrant, which spurred the raid, apparently involved her former boyfriend.
I scoured the internet and found little outrage from gun-rights groups and supporters. Yet, the Taylor case—as well as the issue of police raids and police militarization, in general—poses a real risk to Americans’ Second Amendment rights. They also pose risks to our other constitutional rights, such as protection against government searches and seizures, and the requirement for due process.
Heavily armed, black-clad SWAT officers conduct thousands of these raids each year, with many of them botched and some even taking place at the wrong address. As the New York Times recently explained, Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed and heard banging. Police say that they announced themselves before busting down the door with a battering ram, but Walker said he didn’t hear that announcement—and feared the intruder was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend.
Walker fired his gun, hitting a sergeant in the thigh. One officer reportedly fired 10 rounds blindly into the apartment, while others fired five rounds at Taylor, killing her. Dispatch logs suggest the officers waited 20 minutes before providing medical assistance to Taylor. Police found no drugs in the apartment, according to the family lawyer. The grand jury indicted one officer for “wanton endangerment,” but filed no charges against the others. One officer was fired.
Authorities dropped attempted-murder charges against Walker, but they typically file such charges against citizens who use firearms when the intruders turn out to be officers.
“In theory, no-knock raids are supposed to be used in only the most dangerous situations,” per a 2015 Vox report. “In reality, though, no-knock raids are a common tactic, even in less-than-dangerous circumstances.” It noted that 80 percent of them involve the execution of a simple se
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