For months, actors, athletes, musicians and other celebrities have been using their platforms calling for justice for Breonna Taylor, the Black woman shot to death by police during a botched drug raid in Kentucky. Publications like O:The Oprah Magazine and Vanity Fair also joined in by putting her photo on their covers.
After a grand jury indicted on Wednesday one of the Louisville police officers involved on criminal charges — but none of the officers for Taylor’s death — those celebrity calls and denouncements are only getting louder.
“Bulls–t decision!!! BLACK LIVES MATTER!!! Cannot be said enough times,” actor Viola Davis posted to her Twitter, while Beyoncé sent a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron calling for justice.
Comedian and TV host W. Kamau Bell expressed incredulity at the grand jury’s decision.
“Brett Hankison is indicted for shooting into the apartment NEXT to Breonna Taylor & not for KILLING HER. He’s fired for shooting into BREONNA TAYLOR’S apartment & not for KILLING HER. This is systemic racism. Property is worth more than a Black woman.” Bell wrote on Twitter.
“It ain’t right and enough already. Enough already. It’s time for some people to go to jail,” actor and performer Queen Latifah told The Associated Press.
“Everyone needs to register to vote,” she added. “Vote early, go hard, we got to go hard. This is not a year to take it easy, because no one has taken it easy on us. You know, and there’s no reason that young woman should not be walking around today, there’s no reason her mom should be burying her child.”
In a video message shared online, Stevie Wonder referenced Louisville’s recent $12 millions US wrongful death settlement with Taylor’s family. “No amount of money has ever brought a life back,” Wonder said. “Ask yourself `Why so long for Breonna Taylor?”‘
The Universe Is Watching Us — Stevie Wonder In His Feelings. <a href=”https://t.co/AiHChHUHLy”>pic.twitter.com/AiHChHUHLy</a>
New calls to #AbolishThePolice
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback and activist, was among those who reiterated the hashtag #AbolishThePolice. “The white supremacist institution of policing that stole Breonna Taylor’s life from us must be abolished for the safety and well being of our people. #BreonnaTaylor #SayHerName #AbolishThePolice,” he wrote via Twitter.
“This is why police need to be defunded and ultimately abolished! We time and time again hope for a sliver of justice but why would we get that when the system is designed to protect the very folks that are murdering and terrorizing us. This isn’t a bad apple, it’s a rotten tree,” Layshia Clarendon, WNBA player for the New York Liberty, wrote online.
Prefacing that while he’s not a law expert Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Piece said Wednesday’s decision indicates a real problem.
“Whatever the law, whatever is protecting [the police] in this case and many other cases is hard to comprehend, hard to understand. If this is the protections they have, we have a real problem. There was an anticipation that this was not going to go down the way it should have. That’s been proven with the news we got today,” Price said during a media call.
“It’s all kind of numbing,” recording artist Lecrae posted on social media. “On one hand it’s like I KNOW I’m not crazy there’s a real problem in our country. On the other I’m sad that everyone doesn’t see it and some don’t want to. Of course I know God is at work. It’s just tough to process it all. #BreonnaTaylor.”
Rapper and actor Common quoted influential Black writer James Baldwin by posting: ‘To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost all of the time.’ James Baldwin. #BreonnaTaylor.”
Alicia Keys also shared her outrage, posting to Twitter, “This is is a PRIME example of Rotten to the CORE!!! UnJust!!!! Disrespectful and BLATANT DISREGARD!!!! Infuriated!!!!!!!”
Attorney General called out
Others posted angry messages that called out Attorney General Cameron, including actor Kerry Washington, who also referenced the U.S. President in her tweet. “Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump’s short list as replacement of #RGB on the Supreme Court. The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing #BreonnaTaylor. Vote,” Washington said.
Daniel Cameron is on Donald Trump’s short list as replacement of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RGB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RGB</a> on the Supreme Court. The same man who decided to not charge the officers responsible for killing <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BreonnaTaylor?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BreonnaTaylor</a>. Vote.
Cameron referenced the onslaught of reaction from celebrity outsiders during remarks he made, which included urging people to keep protests that arose following Wednesday’s decision peaceful.
“There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do, but they don’t,” Cameron said. “Let’s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.”
George Clooney responded with a fresh wave of criticism. “I was born and raised in Kentucky. Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month. The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions,” Clooney said in a statement.
“Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death … by three white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong. I’m ashamed of this decision.”
Writer-director Aaron Sorkin defended the protesters who took to the streets after the decision. “Of course people are going to get on the street and they’re going to show you their pain, they’re going to show you their anger. And you have to meet that by listening. You cannot meet that by pushing back with, what are essentially baseball bats and poison that you’re spraying in people’s eyes and noses. But that is what will happen,” Sorkin told the Associated Press.
my heart is broken for the family of Breonna Taylor. once again we’re left with nothing that they try to make seem as something 💔
“I don’t have many words right now… but all I can say is I’m praying for the city of Louisville right now,” posted Louisville Cardinals player Donovan Mitchell, while recording artist Ella Mai expressed her sadness: “My heart is broken for the family of Breonna Taylor. once again we’re left with nothing that they try to make seem as something.”
Wednesday’s decision was “really disappointing because justice should be served for [Breonna Taylor’s] death,” Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins said at a press conference.
“The injustices and the police brutality and the systematic racism and everything of that nature. It’s bigger than just sports or politics or the colour of your skin. It’s about how you treat people.”