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  • Rebecca Branle

On Breonna Taylor

I keep wanting to stomp my feet and scream, "You're not seeing her. They're not seeing her."

Breonna Taylor was young and beautiful and warm and kind and she was asleep in her bed. She was a first responder, a front line worker, a life full of purpose and promise. She was good. She mattered. And she's dead. And you're not seeing her.

But you know who else you're not seeing? The cops. You're seeing badges and uniforms and you're genuflecting to their titles, but you're not seeing them. I get it. I used to do the same. 'Their job is hard,' I'd deafly reason. I needed to listen.

If we listen here, we'll hear Breonna fighting for her life, and we'll hear the deafening silence of those who should have helped her. She was coughing and gasping for breath. For at least 6 minutes she fought. For 20 minutes those heroes in badges fumbled and forgot about Breonna. They didn't mention her on the radio. They stayed outside and didn't go to her. For 20 minutes they didn't consider her; they were too busy considering themselves. They're still considering themselves. Just read the email by Mattingly - no remorse, no consideration for Breonna, only a bunch of bravado.

And please know, I'm not condemning all cops. There are good cops. So many good cops. But they won't matter if bad cops get off, if the system remains rotten to the core. They don't matter if bad cops and bad elected officials can offer a plea deal to Breonna's ex-boyfriend, telling him if he implicates her, it'll be good for him (and obviously good for them). But the thing is, Breonna was so good, that he refused. The truth mattered more to him than to the prosectors charged with uncovering the truth. If prosecutors, paired with police, plant lies, if what they call the truth is something they create, how can there be public trust? Ever?

No, not all police are bad, but we've gotta see the bad ones. We've got to stop giving them a blind pass and start giving them a hard look. Even if these guys were under the impression they were under attack and returned fire, they didn't get Breonna help. They didn't listen to her boyfriend begging them to get her help and, later, their bosses tried to stain her character. Because her blood was staining their hands. But, in doing so, they stained the good name of good cops everywhere. They have to stop. We ALL need them to stop.

I hope you see that.

I hope you see them.

I hope you see her.

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