MetroFocus: September 25, 2020

BREONNA TAYLOR DECISION SPARKS OUTRAGE NATIONWIDE

Breonna Taylor’s name and image have become part of the national movement over racial injustice since May, when her case began to draw national attention. This week, after more than 100 days of protests and a months long investigation into the police shooting of the 26-year-old emergency room technician- only one of the 3 officers involved was indicted but not charged in her death. And the grand jury decision to not prosecute all 3 has inflamed tensions in cities across the nation. Legal experts thought it unlikely the officers would be indicted in the first place, as past experiences- from Eric Garner to George Floyd- had supported that assertion. Tonight, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (a service of Louisville Public Media), John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Freedom March NYC discuss the impact as we Say Her Name and examine the rift between the public perception of police violence and the law.

Aired on September 25, 2020.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

THROUGHOUT THE SPRING AND SUMMER, THE NAME BREONNA TAYLOR HAS ECHOED IN PROTESTS IN CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

TAYLOR WAS KILLED IN A MARCH BY LOUISVILLE POLICE DURING A BOTCHED RAID.

THE PHRASE 'SAY HER NAME' HAS BECOME A RALLYING CRY FOR THOSE DEMANDING RACIAL JUSTICE AND POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY.

THIS WEEK, THAT CRY FOR JUSTICE TURNED TO ANGER WHEN OFFICIALS IN LOUISVILLE ANNOUNCED THAT THERE WOULD NOT BE DIRECT CHARGES AGAINST THE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN HER KILLING.

ONE OFFICER WAS CHARGED FOR SHOOTING INTO A NEIGHBOR'S APARTMENT.

AFTER THAT ANNOUNCEMENT, THERE HAS BEEN A NEW WAVE OF PROTESTS IN LOUISVILLE AND AGAIN ACROSS THE COUNTRY INCLUDING HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

SO JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT BREONNA TAYLOR, WHAT'S NEXT, AND WHAT HER CASE CAN TELL US ABOUT SYSTEMIC ISSUES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS OUR PANEL TONIGHT.

THEY ARE GLORIA BROWN MARSHALL, A PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

HELLO.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

OF COURSE.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED TONIGHT BY CHELSEA MILLER.

CHELSEA?

AND ALSO NIA WHITE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

CHELSEA IS THE CO-FOUNDER OF FREEDOM MARCH NYC AND NIA IS THAT ORGANIZATION'S LEAD ORGANIZER.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION, IT'S A YOUTH-LED CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION THAT SPEARHEADED IN OF THE PROTESTS FOR RACIAL JUSTICE THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE HERE IN NEW YORK IN THE SUMMER AND IN THE WAKE OF THE GRAND JURY ANNOUNCEMENT.

AND JOINING US FROM LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, IS JARED BENNETT.

JARED, WELCOME.

HI, THERE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

JARED IS A REPORTER FOR THE KENTUCKY CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, REPORTING FOR PUBLIC MEDIA.

SO THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING ME ON THIS VERY DIFFICULT AND FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE PERHAPS FRUSTRATING OR EVEN CONFUSING TOPIC.

AND FIRST, I JUST WANT TO START, JARED, WITH YOU SORT OF GIVING US THE LAY OF THE LAND, BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THE FULL NARRATIVE OF WHAT IT IS PEOPLE ARE REACTING TO.

WHEN THE GRAND JURY MADE THEIR ANNOUNCEMENT, CAN YOU TELL US AGAIN WHAT IT WAS AND HOW THAT FITS INTO THE LARGER NARRATIVE OF HOW BREONNA'S LIFE ENDED?

SURE.

THIS ALL STARTS BACK IN MARCH.

OFFICERS WERE SERVING A SEARCH WARRANT AT BREONNA TAYLOR'S APARTMENT IN LOUISVILLE, AND THE -- WHILE THEY WERE SERVING IT, THEY HAD OBTAINED A NO-KNOCK WARRANT.

THAT'S A SPECIFIC KIND OF WARRANT THEY DON'T HAVE TO ANNOUNCE THEMSELVES.

HOWEVER, THERE IS SOME CONTENTION IN THE EVIDENCE WHETHER THEY DID ANNOUNCE THEMSELVES OR NOT.

BUT THEY -- AS THEY'RE SERVING THAT WARRANT, THE OFFICERS SHOT AND KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR.

AND SO THIS WHOLE SUMMER THERE'S BEEN PROTESTS IN LOUISVILLE PRETTY MUCH EVERY DAY FOR OVER 127 DAYS NOW, AND ONE OF THE CENTRAL DEMANDS IS THAT DANIEL CAMERON, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, CHARGE THE THREE OFFICERS, SPECIFICALLY, WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THAT SHOOTING FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES RELATED TO HER DEATH.

AND THIS WEEK, DANIEL CAMERON ANNOUNCED -- WELL, A JUDGE ANNOUNCED AND DANIEL CAMERON SORT OF EXPLAINED HE BROUGHT HIS CASE BEFORE THE GRAND JURY TO SORT OF SEE IF THERE WAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BRING CASES, TO BRING CHARGES, I'M SORRY, AND THE DECISION WAS THAT THEY WOULD CHARGE DETECTIVE BRET HANKISON, WHO WAS FIRED BY THE PD A FEW MONTHS PRIOR, THEY WERE CHARGING HIM WITH THREE COUNTS OF WANTON ENDANGERMENT FOR FIRE INTO APARTMENTS NEIGHBORING BREONNA TAYLOR'S.

SO THE SPECIFIC ANGER HERE IN LOUISVILLE IS THAT THOSE OFFICERS, NOT ALL THREE OF THEM WERE CHARGED AND THE CHARGES THAT WERE BROUGHT DO NOT SPECIFICALLY TIE TO KILLING BREONNA TAYLOR.

THAT'S THE IMMEDIATE ANGER HERE.

NOW WE'VE SEEN THE PAST FEW DAYS PROTESTS THAT ARE SORT OF REMINISCENT OF THE EARLY DAYS BACK IN MAY AND JUNE IT STARTED WHERE THERE WERE VERY LARGE PROTESTS AND CONTINUED THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER.

BUT THEY'VE BEEN A LITTLE SMALLER.

PROFESSOR BROWN, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU NOW FOR YOUR LEGAL EXPERTISE.

AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE HEARING FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE IS THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN, YOU KNOW, THE SYSTEM -- WE'RE HEARING THAT FROM PROTESTERS TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN OR IT'S AGAINST US, ET CETERA, AND THAT THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF SYSTEMIC BIAS AND RACISM WITHIN CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

CAN YOU SORT OF EXPLAIN WHY THIS CASE COULD BE HELD UP AS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THAT?

WELL, THE POLICE KILL OVER A THOUSAND CIVILIANS A YEAR, AND THAT'S ONLY BASED ON THE RECORDS THAT HAVE BEEN KEPT IN THE LAST SEVEN OR EIGHT, NINE YEARS.

THE SYSTEM IS WORKING JUST AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO.

WE'RE UNDER A 400-YEAR DOCTRINE OF RACIAL OPPRESSION.

WHEN AFRICANS ARRIVED IN 1619, WE HAD THE 1619 PROJECT WITH 'THE NEW YORK TIMES.'

FROM THAT TIME PERIOD, IN 1669, THAT LEGISLATIVE BODY PASSED A LAW THAT THE KILLING OF AN AFRICAN WOULD NOT BE A FELONY.

THAT WAS IN 1669.

IN 1680, THEY PASSED A LAW AGAINST SELF-DEFENSE.

SO WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS A CULMINATION OF 400 YEARS OF RACIAL OPPRESSION THAT HAS BEEN IN PLACE ALL THIS TIME AND WILL CONTINUE BECAUSE THERE'S NEVER BEEN ANY REFORM OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

THERE HAVE BEEN REFORMS IN OTHER SYSTEMS BUT NOT IN THIS ONE.

SO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WAS SET UP TO -- AS A FLAME-CATCHING MECHANISM, SLAVE PATROL, A MISSION THAT PUT DOWN NATIVE AMERICAN UPRISING, AND TO PROTECT WHITE PEOPLE FROM PEOPLE OF COLOR.

SO THE SYSTEM IS WORKING JUST AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK FROM THE BEGI BEGINNING, AND BECAUSE THERE IS NO REFORM AND WHAT WE'LL CONSTANTLY SEEN UNTIL THERE'S REFORM OR TRANSFORMATION OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE POLICING BUT ALSO THE LEGAL PART OF THIS, AND THIS IS WHAT SOMEONE LIKE DANIEL CAMERON WAS ABLE TO USE, AND THAT IS THE GRAND JURY SYSTEM, WHICH IS ALSO SET IN PLACE SO IT IS AN OPPRESSIVE DEVICE IN WHICH PROSECUTORS CAN GO ABOUT THEIR JOBS PROSECUTING CIVILIAN-ON-CIVILIAN AFRICAN-AMERICANS BUT NOT PROSECUTING POLICE OFFICERS WHO KILL AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

SO THE SYSTEM IS NOT BROKEN.

THE SYSTEM IS WORKING JUST AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK.

AND UNTIL IT IS RECREATED IN THE WAY OF SOME LEVEL OF FAIRNESS, IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO ALLOW THE MURDERS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR AND THOSE OFFICERS WHO MURDER THEM TO GO SCOT-FREE.

OKAY.

I NOW WANT TO TURN TO CHELSEA AND NIA AND JUST GET FIRST ARE EACH OF YOU -- CHELSEA, I'LL START WITH YOU FIRST -- WHAT WAS AS AN ACTIVIST AND A PROTESTER WHO'S BEEN IN THE STREETS, MARCHING, PROTESTING, ALL SUMMER LONG, WHAT WAS YOUR PERSONAL REACTION WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD THE GRAND JURY'S DECISION?

CHELSEA, I'LL START WITH YOU.

YEAH.

I WOULD DEFINITELY SAY APPALLED, APPALLED BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SPENT SUCH AN AMOUNT OF TIME OVER THESE PAST FEW MONTHS ADVOCATING FOR JUSTICE FOR BREONNA TAYLOR.

WE'VE SEEN BREONNA TAYLOR'S NAME ON SHIRTS.

WE'VE SEEN BREONNA TAYLOR'S NAME ON BILLBOARDS.

WE'VE SEEN EVERYONE FROM ORGANIZERS TO POLITICAL PUNDITS TO INFLUENCERS TO ACTIVISTS RALLY BEHIND WHAT IT MEANS TO SUPPORT A BLACK WOMAN, BUT, TWO, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT JUSTICE FOR BREONNA AND THE WORK TAKING PLACE ON THE GROUND IN LOUISVILLE TO MAKE SURE JUST SIS IS DONE.

THE RESPONSE WAS REALLY A DISREGARD FOR JUSTICE AND WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE SAY ACCOUNTABILITY, AND SO IT WAS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO THIS MOVEMENT AND A SLAP IN THE FACE TO WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT REIMAGINING OUR SYSTEM.

AND TRUTH BE TOLD, IT WAS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY, WHO RECEIVED A PAYOUT FROM THE CITY SAYING THAT IT WAS AN UNLAWFUL DEATH AND IN THAT SAME WAY JUST A FEW WEEKS LATER WE SEE THAT THE RESPONSE DOES NOT HOLD ANYONE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT TOOK PLACE.

NIA?

SO THERE'S A STATE LAW THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WHEN WE TALK ABOUT REIMAGINING OUR SYSTEM.

MM-HMM.

NIA, YOUR THOUGHTS?

YEAH.

HONESTLY, CHELSEA IS SPEAKING THE TRUTH BECAUSE HONESTLY, IT WAS JUST CONFUSING BUT NOT SURPRISING BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE HAVE SEEN HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS IN THE SAME WAY THAT THESE CASES ARE BROUGHT TO THE GRAND JURY, THESE CASES ARE BROUGHT INTO THE COURT SYSTEMS AND JUST TRYING TO OBTAIN THE, QUOTE, WHOLE TERM OF JUSTICE, AND IT'S NEVER BROUGHT TO US.

SO JUST TO JUST THINK ABOUT HOW THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ALWAYS IN THE STREETS, PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS KNOCKING, PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO SAY NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, BUT WE'RE NEVER ACTUALLY RECEIVING JUSTICE.

WE'VE SEEN THIS WITH SO MANY COUNTLESS BLACK LIVES THAT WE HAVE LOST, NOT JUST THIS SUMMER BUT SUMMERS PRIOR TO THIS.

IT'S NOT THE FIRST.

AND I DON'T KNOW WHEN IT WILL BE THE LAST.

BUT WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE AND CONTINUE UNTIL THERE'S NO MORE HAS HASHTAGS.

GLORIA, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU BECAUSE I WAS A CONSTITUTIONAL LAW EXPERT.

I'VE HAD NUMEROUS CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE EITHER WORKED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT OR WORKED IN THE LEGAL FIELD.

AND THEY'VE TALKED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEGALITY AND MORALITY AND THAT SOMETIMES PEOPLE CAN CONFUSE THE TWO.

SO -- AND I'M NOT SAYING THAT ANYBODY ON THE PANEL IS, BUT THAT'S JUST BEEN A CRITICISM THAT I'VE HEARD.

I'M JUST WONDERING FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, HOW DOES THAT GET ADDRESSED?

AT LEAST FROM A NEW YORK PERSPECTIVE, AND YOU ARE WELL AWARE OF THIS, WE SAW SOMETHING SIMILAR HAPPEN WHEN A GRAND JURY WAS ASSEMBLINGED TO ADDRESS THE KILLING OF ERIC GARNER, AND THAT GRAND JURY AGAIN CAME BACK AND SAID THERE WAS NO REASON TO INDICT.

I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT OUR GRAND JURY SYSTEM.

THE PROSECUTOR WHO IS SO WELL EQUIPPED TO FIND INDICTMENTS AND PRESENT EVIDENCE THAT WOULD LEAD TO INDICTMENTS FOR A GRAND JURY, WHICH IS A SECRET PROCESS, WHEN IT COMES TO CIVILIAN-CIVILIAN CRIME, BECOMES A NEUTRAL PLAYER WHEN IT COMES TO A COP VERSUS A VICTIM OF POLICE VIOLENCE.

A PROSECUTOR BY HIS VERY TITLE IS SUPPOSED TO PROSECUTE.

BUT WE'VE SOON IN THE ERIC GARNER CASE, IN THE MICHAEL BROWN CASE, IN THIS CASE, THAT THE PROSECUTOR -- AND THESE PROSECUTORS WORK HAND IN GLOVE WITH POLICE DEPARTMENTS.

PROSECUTORS DON'T INVESTIGATE.

POLICE OFFICERS DO.

POLICE OFFICERS BRING THE EVIDENCE.

POLICE OFFICERS LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE.

POLICE OFFICERS TESTIFY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.

SO THE PROSECUTORS WORK HAND IN GLOVE WITH POLICE OFFICERS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS.

THEY RELY ON THOSE POLICE OFFICERS.

SO IT BECOMES A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION WHEN THAT SAME PROSECUTOR WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE VICTIM NOW HAS TO PROSECUTE AN OFFICER.

AND BECAUSE THEY ARE SO CLOSELY CONNECTED, THAT IS WHY WE HAVE NOT JUST THE STANDARD THAT SAYS THAT THIS OFFICER ONLY HAS TO CLAIM THAT THEY FEARED FOR THEIR LIFE AND FELT THEY WERE GOING TO MEET DEADLY FORCE WITH DEADLY FORCE AND THEREFORE THAT PROSECUTOR PUTS EVIDENCE BEFORE THE GRAND JURY, WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, THAT'S SUPPOSED TO LEAD TO AN INDICTMENT.

THE REASON WHY IT DOESN'T AND THE MORAL COMPLEXITY HERE IS THIS -- WE DON'T KNOW WHAT EVIDENCE THAT PROSECUTOR PUTS FORWARD, BUT FOR SOME REASON, THEY'RE ALWAYS SO INEPT WHEN IT COMES TO BEING ABLE TO PUT FORWARD EVIDENCE THAT LEADS TO AN INDICTMENT.

YET THEY GET INDICTMENTS EVERY DAY AGAINST CIVILIANS BECAUSE THEY JUST TOSS ALL THE EVIDENCE IN THERE AS THOUGH THEY'RE A NEUTRAL PARTY AND THEY SAY, WELL, YOU, GRAND JURY, YOU FIGURE IT OUT.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO LEAD YOU IN ONE DIRECTION OR ANOTHER, WHICH IS NOT WHAT THEY DO IN A CIVILIAN-ON-CIVILIAN CASE.

MORALITY, YOU CAN SAY, WELL, THE OFFICERS HAVE A TOUGH JOB, LUMBERJACKS HAVE A HIGHER DEATH RATE THAN POLICE OFFICERS.

YES, IT'S A TOUGH JOB BUT THEY'RE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

IF THEY FEAR FOR THEIR LIFE, THEY SHOULDN'T BE DOING THIS JOB.

I THINK MOST PEOPLE GO INTO POLICING TO HELP FOLKS BUT I THINK THERE'S A MALIGNANT FORCE WITHIN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND A PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE THAT WON'T ADDRESS THIS UNTIL WE HAVE CHANGES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, CHANGES LIKE WE HAD IN THE VOTING RIGHTS AND EDUCATION AND PROPERTY AND HOUSING.

WE'VE HAD MASSIVE REFORMS IN THESE OTHER AREAS, NO REFORM IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

SO THIS IS BEYOND MORALITY.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT A COP FEELING THAT THEY'VE BEEN DONE WRONG.

I THINK IT'S ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING, AS POINTED OUT BY CHELSEA AND NIA, A BELIEF THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TREATED A CERTAIN WAY UNDER THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THAT'S NOT HAPPENING.

AND SO PEOPLE CAN SAY IT'S A TRAGEDY.

THIS IS NOT A TRAGEDY.

THIS IS A 400-YEAR DEATH SENTENCE THAT WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN UNTIL WE HAVE A DIFFERENT LEGAL STANDARD FOR PROSECUTORS AND WHISTLE-BLOWERS WITHIN THE PROSECUTOR SYSTEM AND WE HAVE A DIFFERENT STANDARD BY WHICH OFFICERS CAN PLEAD FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES.

NOW, OF COURSE, AS YOU WERE TALKING SO MUCH ABOUT THE PROSECUTOR HANDLING A GRAND JURY, WE HAVE HEARD NOW SO MUCH MORE ABOUT THE KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL DANIEL CAMERON.

AND SO WHAT I WANT TO ASK TO YOU, JARED, IS WHAT D DO WE KNOW ABOUT HIM AND WHAT PERHAPS OUTSIDE INFLUENCES COULD BE SHAPING HIS VIEW OF A CASE LIKE THIS?

YEAH.

SO THIS CASE WAS BROUGHT TO THE GRAND JURY BY DANIEL CAMERON, K KAI KENTUCKY'S ATTORNEY GENERAL.

HE WAS VOTED IN IN 2019.

NORMALLY THIS WOULD BE HANDLED BY A PROSECUTOR.

NOW, THE COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE IN THIS CASE RECUSED HIMSELF BECAUSE AT THE TIME HIS OFFICE WAS BRINGING CHARGES AGAINST BREONNA TAYLOR'S BOYFRIEND, WHO HAD FIRED A SHOT, HE SAYS HE FIRED A WARNING SHOT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW WHO WAS AT THE DOOR, THAT STRUCK ONE OF THE OFFICERS IN THE LEG.

SO THE COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEY OFFICE WAS BRINGING CHARGES AGAINST HIM AND FELT IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE TO HANDLE THE INVESTIGATION TO THE OFFICERS.

THAT'S HOW DANIEL CAMERON, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, ENDED UP WITH THIS CASE.

DANIEL CAMERON IS -- HE'S A YOUNG POLITICIAN.

HE'S 34 YEARS OLD.

HE IS A REPUBLICAN.

HE IS A PROTEGE OF MITCH McCONNELL.

HE WAS MITCH McCONNELL'S LEGAL COUNSEL AND HE CAME UP -- HE'S FROM KENTUCKY, CAME UP THROUGH KENTUCKY SCHOOLS, AND HE'S KIND OF A RISING STAR IN THE REPUBLICAN WORLD.

DONALD TRUMP CALLED HIM A STAR RECENTLY AFTER HIS DECISION WAS MADE.

IN TERMS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE, THAT WAS A BIG ISSUE IN HIS CAMPAIGN IS HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DOES HE REALLY HAVE HANDLING CASES.

HE WAS A CLERK AND HAD WORKED AT A PRIVATE LAW PRACTICE, BUT NOT A LOT OF TIME IN THE COURTROOM.

SO THAT'S SORT OF HIS BACKGROUND.

HOW MUCH THAT FACTORED INTO THE -- HIS DECISION, YOU KNOW, REALLY ONLY HE KNOWS THAT.

I CAN TELL YOU THAT HERE IN LOUISVILLE, PEOPLE KNOW WHO HE IS AND THEY KNOW HIS BACKGROUND AND THEY KNOW HIS CONNECTIONS.

DANIEL CAMERON IS ALSO A BLACK MAN, AND THAT COMES UP A LOT WHEN I'M TALKING TO PEOPLE AT PROTESTS, SAYING, YOU KNOW -- AS NIA SAID, THIS WAS NOT SURPRISING FOR MOST PEOPLE.

THEY EXPECTED A DECISION LIKE THIS.

HOWEVER, WHEN I WOULD TALK TO PEOPLE THIS SUMMER, THEY WOULD SAY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS A BLACK MAN NOW.

THIS IS THE FIRST, YOU KNOW, TIME WE'VE HAD THIS.

AND SO MAYBE THAT WILL SPUR HIM TO MAKE A DIFFERENT DECISION.

I THINK WHAT PEOPLE -- THAT WAS SORT OF NOT EVEN SPECULATION.

IT FEELS SORT OF JUST, YOU KNOW, WOULDN'T BIT NICE, ALMOST, BUT WHEN PEOPLE THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND LOOKED AT HIS EXPERIENCE AND THE SORT OF LANGUAGE HE USED THROUGHOUT THE CAMPAIGN, YOU KNOW, HE'S A PRODUCT OF REPUBLICAN -- THE REPUBLICAN SYSTEM, SORT OF LAW AND ORDER MENTALITY, AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, HE'S WORKING IN THIS LEGAL FRAMEWORK.

MM-HMM.

AND THAT'S PRETTY WELL ESTABLISHED.

SO, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, PEOPLE WEREN'T REALLY SURPRISED.

AND HOW MUCH OUTSIDE THAT INFLUENCE HAS TO DO WITH HIS DECISION AND WHAT EVIDENCE HE BROUGHT TO THE GRAND JURY.

THAT'S ESSENTIALLY WHAT THAT ISSUE -- YOU KNOW, HE CAN POINT TO THE GRAND JURY AND SAY THEY MADE THE DECISION, BUT THE CASE --

YEAH.

-- IS SORT OF WHAT'S IN QUESTION.

AND, YEAH.

SO THIS DECISION WAS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST DECISION OF HIS CAREER SO FAR.

AND, YOU KNOW, HE'S BEEN TALKED ABOUT AS A SUCCESSOR TO MITCH McCONNELL.

SO, YOU KNOW, THE FALLOUT TO THAT IS REALLY GOING TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN HIS CAREER.

SO ESPECIALLY HERE ON THE GROUND, LIKE I SAID, WE DON'T REALLY KNOW -- ONLY HE KNOWS HOW MUCH THAT INFLUENCED HIM.

BUT ON THE GROUND, PEOPLE DEFINITELY THINK IT INFLUENCED HIM.

TERESA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER, MADE AN APPEARANCE AT A PROTEST YESTERDAY WITH A PICTURE OF DANIEL CAMERON AND IT SAID, MITCH AND A CURSE WORD THAT RHYMES WITH MITCH.

PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY ASSOCIATING --

AND THAT'S DEFINITELY THE UNDERSTANDING THAT I'VE GOT CERTAINLY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT WHATEVER HAPPENED WITH THAT GRAND JURY IS NOW DEFINITELY TYING HIM IN A VERY PERMANENT AND FORCEFUL WAY TO PEOPLE'S VIEWS OF MITCH McCONNELL AS WELL.

BUT I DO WANT TO TURN NOW TO CHELSEA AND NIA AND ASK, BECAUSE AS YOU GUYS HAVE SAID, YOU'VE BOTH BEEN MARCHING IN THE STREETS AND LEADING PROTESTS, AND OF COURSE PEACEFUL PROTESTS BECAUSE MOST OF THE PROTESTS THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON HAVE BEEN PEACEFUL AND THAT ALWAYS DOESN'T GET THE ATTENTION THAT IT SHOULD.

I'M WONDERING, GIVEN THE FACT THAT WE'VE HEARD, AS GLORIA SAY, SO MANY OF THESE CASES HAVE HINGED ON WHAT AN ATTORNEY GENERAL OR A DISTRICT ATTORNEY HAS DONE.

DOES THAT PROTEST NEED TO INCLUDE PEOPLE BEING NOT ONLY REGISTERED TO VOTE BUT AWARE OF WHEN THESE PARTICULAR OFFICES ARE UP FOR ELECTION?

AND EVEN IF IT'S THE CASE OF KNOWING WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE VOICING FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS.

DOES THAT NEED TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS TO GAIN CHANGE?

OR IS IT REALLY MORE ABOUT SHOWING A FORCE IN THE STREETS?

SO THIS TIME, NIA, I'LL START WITH YOU.

YEAH.

SO ONE THING I WOULD SAY IS THAT IT'S SO IMPERATIVE AND SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO CREATE THE MESSAGE AROUND VOTING BECAUSE THERE'S DIFFERENT WAYS WE CAN GO ABOUT ACTUAL CHANGE.

ASIDE FROM US BEING IN THE STREETS 24/7, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE OUR VOICES ARE HEARD BRINGING IT TO THE BALLOT BOXES AS WELL AND MAKING SURE THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS -- WE NEED TO BRING THEM INTO THE PLACES AND BRING BLACK WOMEN INTO THESE PLACES AND MAKE SURE THEIR VOICE ARE HEARD AS WELL.

SO WHEN WE'RE LEAVING THESE PROTESTS, I KNOW THAT JUST FOR NATIONAL VOTER REG E RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION DAY, FREEDOM NYC HAS BEEN ORGANIZING FOR BROOKLYN, WE DID ONE IN HARLEM AND ALSO IN QUEENS.

IT'S SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO ALSO TALK ABOUT POLICY WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT MOBILIZING THE PEOPLE AND MOBILIZING THE COMMUNITY.

CHELSEA?

I WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING VERY, VERY CLEAR.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT DANIEL CAMERON, LET'S BE MINDFUL THAT HISTORICALLY THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WITHIN OUR WHITE SUPREMACIST STRUCTURE BLACK FOLK, RIGHT, WHO HAVE ULTIMATELY BEEN ABLE TO BENEFIT, RIGHT, OFF OF OUR RACIAL SYSTEM AND WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.

WE KNOW THAT THERE WERE SLAVES WHO WERE IN THE HOUSE, WE KNOW THERE WERE SLAVES IN THE FIELD.

LET'S BE MINDFUL THAT SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE DOING A TASK OF OPPRESSING YOUR COMMUNITY, THAT DOES NOT GICHZVE YOU ANY TYPE O RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION.

DANIEL CAMERON SAYING THAT HE UNDERSTANDS THE PLIGHT OF BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY, YOU CAN NEVER UNDERSTAND THE PLIGHT OF BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY BECAUSE IF YOU DID, YOU WOULD HAVE MADE SURE THAT JUSTICE WAS SERVED IN THAT CASE.

AND LET'S ALSO MAKE SOMETHING VERY CLEAR.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND MORAL SYSTEM IS SOMEHOW TWO DIFFERENT SYSTEMS, THE TRUTH IS IN A LOT OF WAY THEYS EAR ONE AND THE SAME.

WE TALK ABOUT OUR CONSTITUTION AND WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.

A LOT OF THAT IS CONFLATED BASED OFF THE BELIEFS OF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS, OUR BELIEFS TIED INTO RELIGION IN A LOT OF WAYS, THE QUAKERS AND WHAT OUR COUNTRY HAS LOOKED LIKE AND BUILT UPON.

I THINK THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT WHEN WE TAKE A STEP BACK AND TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS CHANGE LOOKS LIKE.

THERE'S ONE ELEMENT, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE ARE MOBILIZING FOLKS AND SHOWING UP AT IF POLLS AND MAKING SURE FOLKS ARE INFORMED BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DISINFORMATION ABOUT THE ELECTION.

A PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL NOT TRANSFER POWER PEACEFULLY.

WE ARE DOING OUR DUE DILIGENCE SO FOLKS ARE INFORMED ON WHAT NEXT STEPS LOOK LIKE AND THEY KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO LOCAL ELECTIONS, THAT IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

WE TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS TO REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS TO THE SENATE, ALL OF IT IMPACTS.

A LOT OF TIMES FOLKS EVEN SAY THAT OBAMA DIDN'T DO ENOUGH.

IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM, THE TRUTH IS THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH HE COULD DO.

I'M AN OBAMA WHITE HOUSE ALUM.

IN 2016, I WAS PART OF THE ENTERING CLASS OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION.

SO AS WE SEE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, AS WE SEE DANIEL CAMERON IN THESE MOMENTS OF WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE SAY JUSTICE AND CHANGE, A LOT OF TIMES THAT TENDS TO BE CONTINUE FACILITATED WITH OTHER ISSUES.

I THINK THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BREONNA TAYLOR WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT SHE WAS A SISTER, A DAUGHTER, AND SHE WAS SOMEONE WHO DID NOT GET THE SAME TYPE OF FAIR PROCESS TO OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT HER MURDER ERS RECEIVED.

WE HAVE TO QUESTION WHY SHE WAS PAINTED AS A CRIMINAL BEFORE SHE WAS PAINTED AS A CIVILIAN OR A HUMAN WHO DESERVED THAT SAME EXACT RIGHT AS EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT FAIR AND DUE PROCESS WITHIN OUR Y JUDICIAL SYSTEM.

IF THAT'S NOT APPLICABLE TO EVERYONE, WE MUST QUESTION WHY THAT IS AND CHANGE THAT.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE SAYS, AND THIS WAS POINTED OUT A FEW DAYS AGO, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ABOLISHING SYSTEMS TO REIMAGINE, THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS SAID, RIGHT, THAT PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO ABOLISH AND REIMAGINE SYSTEMS IF THEY FEEL AS THOUGH IT IS NOT DOING THE JOB OF PROTECTING THE PEOPLE.

IN THAT SAME WAY, WE TALK ABOUT REIMAGINING A SYSTEM, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE CALLING TO DO.

OKAY.

ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE GETTING SOME POPS AND BUZZES ON ZOOM CALLS.

BUT GLORIA, I SAW YOU NODDING YOUR HEAD.

WE HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT.

WHAT WAS IT YOU WERE THINKING?

LITIGATION, LEGISLATION, PROTEST.

THOSE ARE THE THREE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN USED IN THIS COUNTRY SINCE THE FOUNDING TO MAKE CHANGE.

THESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE PROTESTING.

THE REST OF US NEED TO BE CHANGING THE LAWS AND WORKING WITH THEM, AND WE'RE ALSO GOING TO HAVE TO LITIGATE THESE CASES.

THIS IS NOT THE LAST TIME THAT THESE OFFICERS CAN BE INDICTED.

THIS IS NOT A TRIAL.

THIS IS NOT DOUBLE JEOPARDY.

THEY CAN BE INDICTED IN THE FU FUTURE.

THAT'S WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING FOR.

KEEP FORCING THEM ON THIS ISSUE UNTIL THERE IS AN INDICTMENT, BECAUSE THEY CAN HAVE A GRAND JURY IMPANELED FOR AS MANY TIMES AS NECESSARY.

SO THIS THING IS NOT OVER BY A LONG SHOT.

ALL RIGHT.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

I WANT TO THANK MY ENTIRE PANEL FOR JOINING US FOR THIS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION, ESPECIALLY IN REGARD TO HOW WE MOVE FORWARD.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019