A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Protests in Kentucky, around nation highlight frustration over lack of accountability

By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

Protests in Louisville and Lexington over the weekend highlight growing public frustration with a system that offers little accountability to those in power.

The killings of unarmed black citizens across the country, including Breonna Taylor, who was asleep at her home in Louisville in mid-March when she was killed, have sparked public outrage over the inertia or complete lack of response by officials to investigate or charge officers involved in the incidents.

Rep. Charles Booker

Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville said unless the tendency to protect law enforcement at all costs shifts, these tragedies will continue to happen.

“Our history shows us that these types of incidents happen, especially to people whose complexion looks like mine, but to so many people, and justice fails them. The processes fail them,” Booker said. “The investigations either don’t happen or if they do, there’s not the transparency that the community needs to heal.”

Last Friday, Minneapolis authorities announced one of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd had been charged with third-degree murder. Two white men in Georgia – one a retired police officer – were arrested and charged only after a video showing the killing of Ahmaud Arbery went viral two months after the incident.

No one has been charged in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Booker said the current moment provides an opportunity for local officials and state lawmakers to address Kentuckians’ concerns.

“There’s a lot of trust that needs to be restored in the community,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to understand that protecting freedom and protecting liberty means that we need to have processes and accountability in place – even for the agencies that are there to protect us.”

In a statement released on Twitter, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his office is in the process of determining what investigatory steps need to take place at the state level regarding Taylor’s death, and said the FBI is conducting an independent investigation into the facts surrounding the incident.

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