I assume you’re all familiar with this case in Louisville, Kentucky; if you’re not, you can get a capsule background here

 The grand jury recently chose not to indict two officers who fired.  A third officer was indicted on a recklessness theory for firing into a nearby apartment during the incident. 

The public exploded. Demonstrations abounded, some of them turning into riots, and in the city where it happened two police officers were shot during the disturbances.  Such is the price of not clearly explaining to the public how the law works.  Part of the blame lies with the media, which created an overblown expectation that the cops whose bullets killed Breonna Taylor would be indicted.  

The simple fact is, they weren’t indicted for exactly the same reason the Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who fired the first shot of the confrontation and in fact wounded and almost killed one of the officers, was not indicted for having done so. 

The law essentially says, “You don’t have to be right, you have to be reasonable.” 

Prosecutors and investigators came to the conclusion that the boyfriend was sincere when he said he didn’t hear police announce, and thought he and his girlfriend were in danger from criminals – very likely the same ex-boyfriend of Breonna, the man the police were hoping to gather evidence against – when he opened fire.  Their conclusion said in essence, “He made a mistake of fact, but any reasonable person in his position might have made the same mistake under the circumstances, and therefore he should be held harmless.”  It’s what’s known as a finding of “excusable” action. 

The cops who returned fire – including the officer who was hit by the boyfriend’s bullet, which tore his femoral artery and came close to killing him – were apparently found to have acted in the reasonable belief that they were under murderous criminal gunfire which warranted their use of deadly force, in the eyes of the grand jury.  Same reason: “They made a mistake of fact, but any reasonable person in their position might have made the same mistake under the circumstances, and therefore they should be held harmless.” 

My friend Andrew Branca, an attorney who specializes in defensive use of deadly force, has popularized a term for this sort of tragedy: “Awful, but lawful.” 

The death of Breonna Taylor is certainly a tragedy. The grand jury’s determination, however, is understandable in the eyes of the law. 

     

53 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Ayoob I understand the desirability of “no knock” search warrants but these seem ill-advised since criminals have been known to say they are police. In this case it certainly seems like there is some confusion over whether anyone was aware what actually occurred.
    I would be interested in your take on “no knock” warrants. Are they being misapplied, done too often? It is easy to see that attaining tactical surprise could be a great advantage in securing evidence and controlling the execution of the warrant.
    However, how does one determine that an actual search warrant is being executed by police and not a group of thugs doing a home invasion? Short of surrendering to “whoever” just knocked down your door, is there some way of determining whether they are police or thugs?

    • They did not do a “No Knock” warrant, that was fake news. Very clearly from the court transcripts, they announced themselves.

    • The media has spread the narrative that the execution of the warrant, in this case, was performed in a “no knock” manner. I gather from your question that you believe this spin and feel that the performance of a “no knock” warrant was part of the problem in this case.

      According to the Kentucky AG (see this link):

      https://nypost.com/2020/09/23/kentucky-ag-breonna-taylor-cops-knocked-and-announced-themselves/

      The officers did announce that they were the police. Therefore, the narrative that it was a “no knock” warrant appears to be just media fake news and spin. Same as the “hands up – don’t shoot” narrative that they spun in the Michael Brown case or the “he ran the kid down and murdered him” narrative that they spun in the Zimmerman/Martin shooting case.

      You need to apply some critical thinking to the stuff that you see in the Anti-American Media these days. About 99% of what they report is either spun as part of a “narrative”, taken out of context or, else, is a outright bit of lying “fake news”.

      I don’t trust anything that I read, see or hear in the Media these days unless I have verified it from multiple sources who are willing to go “on record” with video and documentation. In the case of the Kentucky AG report, I watched his press briefing (live) on Fox News and have also seen it reported by other media sources such as the NY Post in the link above.

      • Just look how Crump and Julison spun the Trayvon Martin case, and undermined fact to push a narrative that would judge Zimmerman guilty.

      • …and cats won’t speak with you again. Besides, the best way of getting cheap or free narcotics is to date someone dealing the stuff. Not saying she was using but simply stating a fact.

    • The person the LEOs were looking for was quite clearly her EX-boyfriend. We don’t know that story. Most drug dealers don’t go around casually introducing themselves as such. Finding out he was dealing may have been the reason she broke off the relationship, or he may have started dealing after the relationship started.

      How many of us run background checks every time we make a friend?

  2. Such is the price of not clearly explaining to the public how the law works.

    They no longer teach civics in public schools. They don’t teach how the law works anymore.

    Newsflash for all those “protesting” the “lack of justice”: A group of citizens, looking at all the evidence, collectively determined whether or not the officers acted reasonably and within the law. Regardless of the outcome of their deliberations, this is what justice looks like.

    The mob is not outraged at the lack of justice; they’re outraged that justice didn’t go the way they wanted and the lynching they were promised isn’t going to happen.

    I’ve believed for a long time that, for all the excuses about education budget cuts and lack of classroom space, they are just that: excuses. The ignorance is 100% intentional. An ignorant public is much easier to control. Easier to cow into silence because they don’t understand their rights, and easier to whip into an outraged mob because they don’t understand the systems under which they live.

    We can have a discussion about “no-knock” warrants and police raids that happen at zero-dark-thirty; those are legitimate grievances that have led to multiple instances of unnecessary violence and death — especially as criminal home invaders have started emulating SWAT tactics and gear and announcing themselves as police (see: David Codrea’s “Fauxnly Ones” files). We can have a discussion about the human cost of the never-ending “War on Drugs” and criminalization of substance abuse. We can have a discussion about the racial disparity in criminal proceedings and sentences. There are plenty of grievances, real and perceived, that leave a lot of room for discussion, even if discussion ends in (respectful) disagreement.

    But allowing the mob to exact violent retribution against the officers for the “crime” of acting reasonably in a crappy situation is a non-starter, regardless of whether or not they “should” have been there. So-called “mob justice” is not allowed in America for a reason.

    • education budget cuts and lack of classroom space, they are just that: excuses

      the real cost in adjusted dollars expended on “educatio” is travesty, and will only get worse. When I went to grade school we had 55 kids in each classroom, one teacher, no aides. We behaved ourselves or there were UNPLEASANT consequences at school, and I learned early on there is NO WAY I could get home faster on my bicycle than the teacher could get home to Mom by phone. You see, parents were INVOLVED in their kids upbringing back then. Most today are not. And no shiploads of gold can fix that. God’s Word commands fathers to teach yuor children. When that does not happen, children do not grow up the way they should, and we have spoilt nursebrats tantrumming about the countryside, angry cause they’re not gettin the teat any more and don’t want to do what they have to to eat. They think they are owed it all. Haytes ta brayke it to ya schweeeethahrt, ain’t nobuddy owes yez nuttin. Wanna eat? Get yer own hands busy.

    • Archer,

      Correct! And America is probably the least racist nation on earth anyway. The violence isn’t about race, it’s about burning down America in order to rebuild it. The ancient strategy of “divide and conquer” still works. The communists are dividing us in order to conquer us.

  3. It seems strange to me since Breonna Taylor is “a person of color”, supposedly unarmed and shot by the police, that the biased, liberal media didn’t sensationalize it as an “unarmed black woman shot by police”. Are some facts being hidden?

    • early reports I read had the boyfriend claiming he was using HER handgun to shoot at the cops. Maybe media caught that one and decided they’d not call her “unarmed”. Besides it already looked pertty bad.. no knock, multiple cops’guns blazing away, one cop hit, inside perp dead, second down. Oh and no “prize candy” found on site. Besides, they had enough to knock down the hornets nest with what they ran.

  4. The problem, which repeats itself daily, all over our country, is the so-called “knock and announce” raids. The police rarely actually announce themselves with volume that the sleeping occupants can hear. And then, the police bust in a second later, before the occupants can get out of bed or even before they can open the door.

  5. Even if the police officers involved in this tragedy were taken outside the court building and lynched on the nearest tree, the bad guys/gals would still find an excuse to riot, burn, maim, kill, and plunder free goods from local merchants, because they know the liberal politicians will allow them.

  6. “Should have” or “should’ve” Ms. Magistro.
    Example:
    You should’ve given it a little more thought before making such a callous comment about a young woman who was a first responder and good person before dying in this tragic event.

  7. Thanks for explaining this clearly Mas.
    That Grand Jury followed the law and their decision was based on facts and not emotion.
    Unfortunately, some folks are not interested in the facts or the law.
    This incident is indeed a tragedy and hopefully lessons will be learned from it.
    The Grand Jury got it right….

  8. I can only come at this from a military perspective- as I’ve never served in law enforcement. I fully understand the element of surprise and overwhelming force. But why are these tactics used in common everyday policing? Especially in built up areas with innocents nearby? This first tier operator attitude in law enforcement seems to be a relatively new- the last 20 years thereabouts phenomenon. Maybe surrounding the building and a phone call could have avoided this negative outcome?IDK- there are just to many incidents like this lately. Whose training these guys? More importantly whose giving the ok for these operations. Why does it always have to be a quasi military operation on civilians?Heres the way I see it: CIVILIAN police are being trained to move aggressively to contact against civilians. That’s what we did in the Army against bonafide enemy combatants. Maybe I’m wrong,but this form of policing needs to be reconsidered. Look how the country is on fire.

    • Mike, having worked for two police departments 1000 miles apart, I can say with a certain amount of accuracy that many of the younger male officers actually believe (incorrectly) they are in the military and not lowly civilians. These cops talk using military jargon and their favorite word is “tactical”. It’s the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality and anyone not wearing a badge or uniform is low on society’s totem pole and less respected. Police tactical teams tend to attract the worst of these gung-ho types who think they are the Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Delta Force, and Ninja assassins rolled into one. However, most of the older, experienced officers understand they are civilians and tend to treat people they come in contact with more equally.

      • A good start would be to adopt Portugal or Switzerland’s program on drugs, and only go after people selling drugs to kids. If we stopped the war on drugs, the cops never would have entered that apartment.

        I hate drugs, but the war on drugs has been a complete disaster.

      • Friend Tom606, having been military and briefly a deputized federal LEO myself, I feel that law enforcement is unavoidably different from the world of no return that is the military. I like statements by a character in a Louis L”Amour (a WWII Army officer) western, explaining the special “safety” of serving in the military: “…If you’re an enlisted man your decisions are made for you. If you’re an officer there’s the regulations, and the fact that everything has to go through channels. If things go wrong or you make a mistake, you can always find somebody else to blame.” (from “Kilrone”, p. The thing is, recipients of referred blame may belatedly or never realize what was done to them, the poor devils. Been there, seen it. Law enforcement seems less closed, is definitely more open to release, and especially toappeal.

      • Strategic Steve, sometimes I can’t help but think that many of the wannabe Ninja cops wanted to join the military, but were afraid they may see serious action and get hurt, so they play it safe and become a cop while pretending they’re G.I Joe. I wanted to be a fighter pilot and ace, but my less than perfect vision prevented that dream. However, I don’t go around fantasizing being Maverick in TOP GUN.

    • +1 for Mike. Also ex-military and now a civilian. Countries I’ve been where the common police officer has a military mindset are usually places you don’t want to be.

  9. This is the same conclusion many of the other knowledgeable folks I have heard explain this case. I guess my question is why was she hit so many times and not the boyfriend? I know it was dark and so forth but just curious. I know the pundits will say, “You weren’t there and adrenaline was dumped. How dare you question the police?” The other question is why charge any officer if it was all one big awful lawful as you mentioned?

  10. I too would like to understand the wisdom of no knock warrants. The stakes are so high if the location ends up being incorrectly chosen, leading to confrontations such as this with innocent citizens. I understand the point that once the engagement unfolded both sides were “awful but lawful”, but fear the tactic employed simply carried an unreasonable risk.

  11. I have read that the (ultimate) boyfriend:

    – held his fire until the door was successfully breached. (Perhaps not off-its-hinges, but clearly the door ceased to be an obstacle.)

    – fired before he had a clear view of the invaders.

    – fired a “warning shot”, not at a specific target.

    On the first point, it seems he observed orthodox doctrine. Before the door is off-its-hinges the threat isn’t quite-yet-imminent. After the door ceases to be an obstacle then the threat is now imminent. Perhaps the door doesn’t have to be perfectly flat on the ground; it just needs to cease to be an obstacle.

    Nevertheless, he didn’t have a clear target. Had he waited another couple of seconds he would have had a clear target. Perhaps he would have had enough of a clear view to make a reasonable judgement as to whether the target was Officer Friendly/Foe-Thug. How were the officers dressed? Perhaps this should be an issue worthy of debate in law enforcement agencies. Is completely black battle dress, no insignia, bullet-proof vests a reasonable enough indication that the invader is NOT-a-thug?

    That he fired a “warning shot” is a clear-cut fail in tactics. Once he opened fire he handed-over the necessary pretext for the cops to return fire.

    • [Had he waited another couple of seconds he would have had a clear target.]
      Once your front door goes down and several armed people come through it, two seconds is a lifetime.

      • Um, the standard is that one must reasonably believe themselves to be in danger of death or serious bodily injury. While this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking, if one cannot see the aggressor, how does one know they constitute a deadly threat? Absent some verbal threat, perhaps the best reaction would have been to take up a position with some cover.

        I think the dude got a pass on the “excusable almost homicide” premise. It wasn’t a wise action, but under the circumstances………………….

        IIRC, the principle of the no knock warrant got blessed by the judiciary for two reasons: minimizing the threat to the innocent in the case of an armed violent felon(s) and trying to reduce the flushing of evidence. I think the first situation is pretty reasonable. Sometimes the second is a little iffy.

  12. It’s a sad fact of life that mistakes will be made. This is a tragic example of a mistake – or perhaps (I wasn’t there either) a series of mistakes, compounded by the fact that a person of color was involved. IMHO a no-knock warrant is a ‘tool’ that reduces the risk to the LEO and needs to be kept as an option, as does ‘tear gas’ for a riot condition in extreme circumstances. I read of an instance locally where a Deputy Sheriff was killed attempting to serve a warrant on a felon. He was outside and shot from the inside through the door.
    I’ve never been a LEO but if I was, and I was denied the reasonable tools to do my job with the maximum safety to me – as well as others – I would refuse and, if necessary, resign.

  13. You write “Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who fired the first shot of the confrontation and in fact wounded and almost killed one of the officers,”
    “The KSP report says that “due to limited markings of comparative value,” the 9mm bullet that hit and exited Mattingly was neither “identified nor eliminated as having been fired” from Walker’s gun. ”

    Given current information is yours an overstatement?

    • According to the Kentucky AG, the wounded police officer was shot by a 9mm round. Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who fired the first shot in this regrettable incident, was the only person on the scene who was armed with a 9mm handgun. All of the police officers were armed with .40 S&W caliber handguns. Again, all of this is per the statement of the Kentucky AG. Here is his statement if you care to watch it for yourself:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo5EUG7P2bw

      Therefore, Mas’ comment (above) is consistent with the information stated by the Kentucky AG. The AG ruled out any possibility of the officer being wounded by friendly fire.

      • Agreed the above statement is consistent with information stated by the Kentucky AG. The information furnished by the Kentucky AG is however a self serving statement that turns out to be maybe not precisely true. There has surfaced information suggesting that at least one officer was issued a 9×19. As with hearsay rules it can be useful to distinguish admissions against interest from self serving statements. “Finally, it should be noted that ballistics information released over the weekend does not support AG Cameron’s claim that Walker shot first and struck one of the officers. The ballistics report from the LMPD PIU was not able to match the bullet pulled from the thigh of Sgt. Mattingly. A separate FBI ballistics report has not yet been released. Cameron said last week that friendly fire had been ruled out as the source of the bullet that struck Mattingly because Walker’s gun was a 9mm and the officers involved in the raid were issued .40 caliber weapons. However, Walker’s attorney claims that a review of Hankison’s file indicates that Hankison was also issued a 9mm weapon; when the Louisville Courier-Journal requested to review those records, it was stonewalled.” I mean no complaint about Mr. Ayoob or any of the sworn personnel involved. Just the same I am reminded of a friend of mine from long ago who took early retirement. Happened I reviewed a case file for the defense and had access to the defense perspective. I asked my friend why didn’t you shoot him? I would have. My friend said that if he wanted to kill people he had plenty of chances that would have honestly written up as righteous. He was content with his headcount and had no desire to add to it. As noted the job got to him and he retired early. There is no Utopia.

      • @ clark e myers – “The information furnished by the Kentucky AG is however a self serving statement that turns out to be maybe not precisely true.”

        I have seen comments, on the internet, from other people who share your opinion. However, I don’t have access to the kind of in-depth information that would confirm or refute your assertion. It may be that the Kentucky AG is trying to “spin a narrative”. After all, that seems to be the “National Sport” among politicians and media types in today’s America.

        However, it may be that you simply don’t like what the Kentucky AG is telling you. Maybe you are disputing his claims just because they go against your own pre-existing bias in this case?

        Whoever was armed with what caliber handgun, my common sense tells me that the police would not open up with a barrage pf 32 rounds just because they liked to make noise. Nor do I believe that the wounded officer either (A) shot himself to get the gunfight started or (B) volunteered to be shot by a brother officer so as to justify the police opening fire.

        In my view, there is a very high probability that Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend did, in fact, fire the first shot and that, in fact, this first shot did hit and wound a police officer.

        I don’t really have a problem with the “knock or to not knock” warrant question nor do I have doubts about whether the police were provoked into returning fire. As I noted in a comment below, in my view, the real problem was lack of fire discipline by the police. Controlled and aimed return fire would have been much, much better than “spray and pray” return fire. While there is no certainty, it might be that controlled return fire would have actually hit the shooter, Taylor’s boyfriend, rather than Ms. Taylor.

        Of course, groups like BLM would have still whipped up anti-police hatred even in this case but a “clean” shooting would have been easier to justify and much less messy from legal and publicity points-of-view.

  14. You lie with dogs you get fleas.
    She laid with drug dealers and got the equivalent of fleas. You are judged by the company you keep.

  15. Mas – A bit off topic but still related to self-defense. Have you looked at this self-defense case in Canada?

    https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/opinion/2020/08/06/supreme-court-of-canada-will-hear-case-of-hamilton-shooting-that-hinges-on-self-defence.html

    This looks like a very interesting case. Maybe one day, when all the legal dust settles, it would make a good case study for the Ayoob Files. There appears to be lots of lessons to learn from this incident.

  16. Good explanation of the shooting portion. Not clear if the officers were wearing body cams and if they were required by their department to be doing so with them turned on. In the larger sense executing this warrant in the middle of the night when the entire neighborhood was at home in bed and there was limited visibility to track the suspect should he escape out a window is difficult to explain. Much like Waco, the subject of the warrant could have been readily taken in daylight by surprise with little risk to bystanders. Was there an EMT vehicle on station nearby as part of the raid plan as apparently the subject was expected to provide resistance. Mike in a Truck described it well, police officers are not soldiers in a war zone and thus must account for every round they expend. The wearing of masks, lack of visible individual identification, mine resistant vehicles, automatic weapons etc are literally terrifying to the average citizen. The delay in releasing relevant information becomes the match to the powder keg. We need to do better.

  17. In my opinion, one contributor to this incident was poor fire control and lack of restraint on the part of the officers. Consider what happened (according to the Kentucky AG):

    1) A single shot, from a 9mm handgun, was fired at the officers. This shot hit and seriously wounded one of the officers.
    2) The officer who was hit responded by firing six (6) shots back in the direction of the shooter.
    3) A second officer, just behind and beside the wounded officer, also returned the fire. He emptied his gun by firing a total of sixteen (16) shots.
    4) A third officer, Brett Hankison, fired wildly into the building from outside. He fired a total of ten (10) shots. None of these shots hit Ms. Taylor or her armed boyfriend. However, they did enter an adjacent apartment and endangered the lives of three (3) people in that apartment. This is why Officer Hankison was indicted, by the Grand Jury, on three counts of Wanton Endangerment.

    So, in response to the single shot that was fired at the police and which wounded an officer, the police returned a total of thirty-two (32) rounds of .40 S&W. Not a single one of these rounds hit the shooter that had fired upon the police. Instead, six (6) of the rounds hit an unarmed bystander, Ms. Taylor (thereby causing her death), while some of the other rounds endangered the lives of three (3) other bystanders who (fortunately) were not wounded or killed. Maybe we were lucky that there was only one bystander killed. It could have been four (4) including a pregnant female in the adjacent apartment!

    To me, this sounds like “Spray and Pray” shooting. It sounds like panic fire rather than limited, controlled and carefully aimed return fire.

    Perhaps the protestors and the Anti-American Media are all focusing upon the wrong issues in this case. Maybe, the problem is not with “no knock” warrants or with “systemic” police racism or any other such Bull-crap. Maybe the problem is actually poor police firearms training and the tendency to “spray and pray” with semi-automatic arms instead of relying upon aimed, controlled return fire.

    Let’s face it, if these officers had been armed with old-fashioned revolvers, then it is doubtful that they would have “sprayed” rounds all over the place in this manner! The switch to semi-automatic handguns may not be the unmixed blessing that many folks imagine.

    Mas, you did not address the poor gun-handling, by the police, in your write-up above. However, I think it may be a big part of the problem in this case.

    • Absolutely correct. Even before joining any police department, I had learned from reading and speaking with cop friends that one should never fire a gun unless there is a visible target. In this case, a bullet comes from the interior of a dark residence and hits an officer in the leg. The three cops return fire with numerous rounds and misses the initial shooter, but kills an unarmed person by striking her multiple times.

      I once had a training scenario where I and a range officer were sent into a portable building armed with Simunitions pistols. I went in first and suddenly the interior lights went off. I yelled “get out!” and was hit dead center in the chest with a 9mm Simunitions round. I saw the the muzzle flash and fired off two shots at it before quickly exiting the building. It was a staged ambush and when the shooter came out, she had a pink splotch on her face shield over the left eye and another on her left gloved hand used to support her pistol when firing. I didn’t clearly see my assailant but did see the muzzle flash so had a target to aim at. In real life my Second Chance vest which I was wearing at the time, would have protected me, but my assailant would probably not have a level 2 ballistic face shield on, resulting in some major eye problems and serious lead poisoning to her brain.

      In the Taylor situation, the police officers when fired upon, depending on whether they saw the shooter and if there was any nearby cover, could have fired at the muzzle flash and should have sought cover or at least go prone and exit the area immediately, then secure the building for a tactical team. Instead, they ignored fire discipline and opened up with a hail of inaccurately fired bullets. This was not the jungles of Vietnam crawling with VC and NVA enemies, but an apartment building in America with many innocent people living in them. One could argue the cops were surprised and possibly scared, but that’s no excuse for firing their weapons wildly. Place your front sight on the target and press the trigger and/or seek cover. If one cannot do that, they should find another less stressful job, maybe working in a safe donut shop.

      • A serious lack of effective training in Louisville, including realistic evaluation of projected trainee performance in real world scenarios, seems apparent from the general discussions above. “Mag-dumps” as suppressive fire a la military tactics do not have much place in residential policing, and should be prescribed more judiciously. The police handguns don’t normally have full-auto selectors for a reason. Commanders and officers both need to get after this. Likely they can get a lot of help from Mas on how to improve their training.

  18. I had not been aware of the details concerning the surviving male from the traget dwelling. I wondered whether he had been charged, and with what. Not certain but I get the imression he is black, or at least mixed. race. I thought that explained the lack of charges.. that I had heard of, anyway.
    Glad to know the jury put him in the same tatus box they did the officers who had done the shooting.
    I also think the reckless charge on the one guy probably fits well, and is justified. EVERY ROUND COUNtS is the general rule, right? Seems he needed a wake up call.
    Overall I think the Grand Jury got it pretty spot on. Its the hooligans on the rampage that now need brought to heel.

  19. From what I’ve seen, the announcement in these raids usually occurs as the battering ram is swinging at the door. Breaking in a door and flooding a stack of armed and excited officers through it is very dangerous, even if the house is vacant. Officers have been killed training for such.
    Adding to that the raid happening in the middle of the night, in a neighborhood where bullets will travel from one house through another, with newly-awakened citizens stumbling out of bed even if they are unarmed, and tragedies are foreseeable.
    Add an armed citizen, and they are nigh-on inevitable.
    IMHO the only reason for a raid like this is to rescue innocent hostages.

    For situations where you are going after someone with a violent record, surround the house during the day, including police vehicles with their lights going, and make a phone call. It’s much safer, for the officers and for innocent bystanders.

    • IMHO the only reason for a raid like this is to rescue innocent hostages.

      Agreed, 100%. I can see the need to prevent evidence destruction, but…

      For situations where you are going after someone with a violent record, surround the house during the day, including police vehicles with their lights going, and make a phone call.

      I’d stake out the house, keep track of how many people are inside at all times, report when the suspect(s) leaves, and pull them over and block in their car three blocks over. Arrest them there, in broad daylight, when you can positively ID the correct person(s). Then you can enter the home practically at your leisure. No worries about itchy trigger fingers (on both sides) endangering officers, suspects, or neighbors, and no worries about destruction of evidence (since the home is empty).

      IMHO, part of the problem is that police departments are getting millions of dollars worth of hand-me-down military/tactical gear from the DOD, and have to use it to justify getting and keeping it (what civilian police department really needs a mine-resistant ambush-protected [MRAP] vehicle?). So they use it, more than is necessary, even when it’s not totally appropriate and even when there are better and safer (for everyone) methods for conducting searches and arrests. It also doesn’t help that having access to real military/tactical gear tends to foster the gung-ho “high-speed-low-drag operator” mindset instead of limiting it.

      It’s not that “no-knock” warrants and SWAT raids don’t have a place in policing; it’s that they fill a very specific and very narrow niche. Unfortunately, it seems such raids get used more often than they should, and in some areas have become the default answer, supplanting and replacing real community police work. “When all you have is a hammer,” and all that.

  20. There are a few libertarian-bent commentators who are questioning the AG’s grand jury instructions, that he may have “over-instructed” to give the officers more legal protections than Kentucky law allows. I haven’t heard the instructions, but it would be hard to get Kentucky’s self-defense laws wrong because they are so pro-citizen. Even if you could prove a reckless disregard for Taylor’s safety (versus “we thought she was one shooting at us”), you aren’t getting any charges worse than reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter at most.

    The clear takeaway from Louisville is that Metro PD needs its command structure cleaned out. There’s no way the city and the insurance company rushes that $12 million settlement out the door unless there are dangerous facts that will hit the public when discovery starts.

  21. Breonna Taylor was unarmed but was shot six times. LE fired a total of 32 rounds at close quarter’s, 26 of those shots apparently un-aimed. It’s a miracle more people were not killed or injured. Taxpayers in Louisville are on the hook for $12,000,000. But LE acted “reasonably”?

  22. I note (via a Twitter post by Radley Balko) that a member of the grand jury has moved to ask the judge to release “any and all recordings of the grand jury” in the case. See https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nkhxCZkJb7_9wgJuYXBn3acxcC7tOebx/view. It’s my understanding the motion was granted and the records will be released 9/30. This seems incredibly rare.
    A post downthread on Twitter suggested that that the juror basically wants to discuss what WASN’T presented to the grand jury.

  23. The city of Louisville should have spent a faction of the many millions of dollars paid to the family of Ms Taylor on good quality training from Mas to teach their police officers how to shoot and handle their weapons without freaking out under stress. The most powerful tool of a person is his/her brain and it needs proper conditioning to keep it’s owner out of trouble. I’m sure Mas would be happy to train a medium sized police department for $1M (just 1/16 of the amount paid to Taylor’s family) and it would be money well spent.

    • The city doesn’t care. The judgement was “other people’s money”, that is, tax dollars. Some low-status pols will have their budgets reduced until the revenue shortfall is made up. Angry memoranda will circulate, studies will be proposed, new rules will be considered, nothing will happen, and nobody will be at fault. Life will go on.

      You can’t effectively punish a corporate entity short of dismantling it.

  24. > They no longer teach civics in public schools. They don’t teach how the law works anymore.

    I graduated high school in 1978. Civics wasn’t part of the curriculum in the school system my HS was part of.

    Through experience in life, I learned that court system consists of approximately equal mixtures of prejudice, influence, money, and random chance, like any other banana republic.

  25. Mas,
    Off topic big time
    Something happened recently that scared me.
    I received a gun from Turnbull Restoration via UPS, the following day I got a box of bullets for reloading from MidwayUSA, also UPS. Both boxes were clearly marked with sender’s name.
    The UPS driver, When handing the MidwayUSA box to me began telling me how he always tries to hide packages he delivers when they have valuables, the box from Turnbull’s was obvious, adult signature with photo ID required.
    It’s easy to do an on line search to find out what business the sender is in.
    UPS drivers do not have time to park their truck and chat.
    They should not be discussing the valuables that may be in the boxes.
    I’m 77 years old and felt a burglary or home invasion set up.
    Does it sound like it or am I just paranoid ?
    Sorry but I’m worried, I contacted UPS and reported it and asked MidwayUSA to use plain boxes, they refused.

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