Be careful browsing Berlingske today, because they’ve got a steaming pile of rancid shit on their homepage.
“Hvis man vil forstå, hvorfor Louisville i Kentucky lige nu er ved at koge over af raseri,” writes Mikkel Danielsen, “må man forstå, hvad der skete lidt over midnat på Springfield Drive 13. marts.”
He’s writing about the night on which Breonna Taylor was killed by law enforcement officers in Louisville, Kentucky.
He’s right that you’ve got to understand what happened that night, but he’s wrong to suggest it’ll help you understand why Louisville has erupted. They’re not tearing things up and shooting cops because of what actually happened, but because of what was believed to have happened. What was rumored to have happened.
First and foremost: Breonna Taylor was innocent. Her death was a tragedy. An awful, awful tragedy that never should have happened.
But it had nothing to do with racism.
It had nothing to do with police brutality.
It had nothing to do with “no knock” warrants.
I would encourage everyone in the world to read the transcript of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s statement on the case, or watch this video.
In under two minutes, the chief law enforcement officer for the state of Kentucky explains “what you need to understand” in a way that Mikkel Danielsen didn’t seem to think of: he lays out the facts.
Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officer’s statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in a proximity to apartment four. In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant.
When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to apartment four, the decision was made to breach the door. After breaching the door, Sergeant Mattingly was the first and only officer to enter the residence. Sergeant Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and a female. In his statement, he says that the male was holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance. Sergeant Mattingly saw the man’s gun fire, heard a boom, and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh.
Kenneth Walker fired the shot that hit Sergeant Mattingly. And there’s no evidence to support that Sergeant Mattingly was hit by friendly fire from other officers. Mr. Walker admitted that he fired one shot and was the first to shoot. In addition to all the testimony, the ballistics report shows that the round that struck Sergeant Mattingly was fired from a nine millimeter handgun. The LMPD officers fired 40 caliber hand guns.
Sergeant Mattingly returned fire down the hallway. Mattingly fired six shots. Almost simultaneously, Detective Cosgrove, also in the doorway, shot 16 times. This all took place in a matter of seconds. In total, six bullets struck Ms. Taylor. Medical evidence obtained by our team indicates that only one shot was fatal. Further medical evidence shows that Ms. Taylor would have died from the fatal shot within a few seconds to two minutes after being struck.
Here’s Danielsen’s opening, literally the very first words of his article:
»Sluk lige TVet« var de sidste ord, Breonna Taylor sagde til sin kæreste. Så faldt hun i søvn.
You cannot understand why Louisville is boiling over unless you understand what happened that evening in March, and you can’t understand that evening in March unless you understand that half an hour before the events in question began, she told her boyfriend to turn off the television and fell asleep.
En halv time senere stod tre betjente foran hendes dør. De næste minutter vil vi beskrive her. De blev de sidste i den 26-årige kvindes liv. Og de har fået vreden og volden til at eksplodere i Louisville i Kentucky.
As important as it may have been to know that Breonna Taylor told Kenneth Walker to turn off the television half an hour before she went to sleep, the next thirty minutes were clearly unimportant or Mikkel Danielsen would have shared them with you.
Det amerikanske politi har taget et uskyldigt sort menneskes liv. Igen. Og mange amerikanere føler, at systemet – nok en gang – holder hånden over drabsmændene.
Here’s where Danielsen and journalists like him begin to become complicit in the conflict we’re seeing in America right now. (Yes, I mean that.)
“The American police have taken an innocent black person’s life,” he says. “Again.” he adds.
First of all, the American police haven’t taken a single black person’s life, innocent or otherwise, because there is no such thing as “American police.” Every state is responsible for its own law enforcement, and most (all?) states let their various cities, towns, and counties administer their own police forces without much interference from above.
A problem with Chicago cops is a Chicago problem. A problem with Miami cops is a Miami problem. When things get bad in Chicago or Miami, pressure may come down from Springfield (the capital of Illinois) or Tallahassee (the capital of Florida), and of course federal crimes get federal investigators. In fact, Cameron spends a good part of his full statement talking about the coordination of local and federal investigations.
And yet the fact remains: there are no American police.
And there is no pandemic of innocent black lives being taken by police in America anyway. That is the Big Lie poisoning America right now. I’ve written before about the studies that prove it, and how the studies themselves became toxic because their findings weren’t what they were “supposed to be.”
So when any journalist, American or not, drops a turd like Danielsen’s melodramatic pronouncement, it’s just reinforcing the Big Lie that’s tearing the country apart.
For the record, I was being a little hyperbolic: there are in fact federal law enforcement officials, but I’m not aware of any highly publicized cases involving them recently. (Although of course the Speaker of the House did refer to them as Stormtroopers and accused them of “kidnapping” citizens that they were legally arresting, but the Speaker of the House is also a part of the problem these days… and is apparently having problems of her own.)
Let’s get back to Danielsen’s disgrace of an article:
En storjury i Kentucky besluttede i går, at én af de tre betjente skal sigtes. Ikke for at have affyret kugler ind i Breonna Taylors krop – men for at have skudt så vildt, at også nabolejligheden blev ramt.
Danielsen notes that yesterday, September 23, a grand jury in Kentucky concluded that one of the cops involved in the episode should be charged with a crime. The cop in question was apparently outside the building and firing into it recklessly, and it was sheer luck that none of his bullets struck Breonna Taylor’s neighbors.
Again, though, note the melodrama: the cop who was charged wasn’t even one of the ones who fired a bullet into Breonna’s body!
The fact is correct. Only two officers fired their weapons toward Breonna and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. They were, it should be remembered, returning fire. They had knocked on the door, announced their presence, received no answer, forced their way in, and found themselves staring into the business end of Kenneth Walker’s nine-millimeter… which immediately fired into the body of one of the officers.
It must have been a confusing and terrifying moment for everyone involved.
A grand jury–a jury of citizens who considered all the evidence and testimony–determined that as tragic and awful as Breonna’s death may have been, neither of the officers in that hallway in that horrifying moment should be charged with a crime for doing what, frankly, was about the only option people have when they’re being shot at, which is to shoot back.
Juryens afgørelse sendte straks vrede demonstranter på gaden. Nogle var voldelige. To betjente blev skudt og såret – de er uden for livsfare.
Angry “demonstrators” did indeed rush to the streets immediately, and two officers were in fact shot and are apparently recovering.
Danielsen never mentions those officers again, nor does he add another melodramatic “again.” Because he could have very easily styled that bit of information like this:
“Two American policemen were shot simply for being policemen. Again.”
Hey, anyone remember the names of the two L.A. cops who got shot in the head from point-blank range a couple weeks ago while sitting in their squad car?
Not Mikkel Danielsen, I’m guessing.
Efter at Breonna Taylor havde afsluttet sin vagt som assistent på en lokal skadestue, besluttede hun og hendes kæreste, Kenneth Walker, at holde en dateaften: tage ud at spise på et steakhouse. Hjem i sengen og se film.
De plejede at være hos ham, men denne aften havde de – desværre – besluttet at overnatte i hendes hjem på Springfield Drive.
Ifølge The New York Times hang der i hendes værelse små, gule Post-it-sedler med store drømme for fremtiden: Hun ville købe et hus. Uddanne sig til sygeplejerske. Have et barn med sin kæreste.
Kort efter midnat faldt Breonna Taylor i søvn.
Så bankede det hårdt på døren. Det var politiet. De ville gennemføre en narkoransagning relateret til Breonna Taylors ekskæreste.
These details are not relevant. A grand jury heard all the testimony and reviewed all the evidence and determined that the events that happened were a horrible tragedy, but not a crime. I don’t know whether anyone told them about Ms. Taylor’s collection of inspirational post-it notes, but that wouldn’t really have been very valuable information for them insofar as it’s got fuck all to do with what happened after the police came to the door.
That’s what matters. And the Attorney General makes it very clear what the grand jury concluded about those events based on the evidence and testimony available to them.
Danielsen then relates the story not as the grand jury apparently believed it took place, but as Kenneth Walker and the various lawyers and publicists representing him and Breonna Taylor’s family say it went down.
The thing is, we no longer need their side of the story. The grand jury heard it, weighed it, and still found that the officers should not be charged with a crime. A grand jury is not part of the justice system or law enforcement. It’s not part of anything at all. It’s a random bunch of citizens brought together to look into a potentially criminal situation and decide whether charges ought to be filed, and against whom. It’s one of the most democratic institutions there is.
Taylor-familiens advokat, Sam Aguiar, mener, at det er politiets »katastrofale fejl«, som har kostet den unge kvinde livet.
»Breonna Taylor bliver skudt i sit eget hjem, mens hendes kæreste foretager sig noget, der er så amerikansk som apple pie: at beskytte sig selv og sin kvinde.«
No, Sam. That’s not how it works. We all know that’s not how it works. Even Danielsen ought to know that’s not how it works. You have the right to defend yourself and your loved ones and your home, but the minute you aim a gun at cops who’ve identified themselves as cops (and a witness supports that they did), all bets are off. And the minute you actually fire that gun, we’re no longer talking about a catastrophic error if the cops fire back, are we?
Is it so unreasonable to conclude that had Kenneth Walker not drawn, aimed, and fired his gun, this entire incident would have been avoided?
How about another moment of lucidity from Daniel Cameron to wash the horrible taste of this article out of our mouths:
My team set out to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death. We did it with a singular goal in mind, pursuing the truth.
Kentuckians deserve no less. The city of Louisville deserves no less. Every person has an idea of what they think justice is. My role as special prosecutor in this case is to set aside everything in pursuit of the truth. My job is to present the facts to the grand jury and the grand jury then applies those facts to the law. If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge. And in our system, criminal justice, isn’t the quest for revenge. It’s the quest for truth, evidence and facts, and the use of that truth as we fairly apply our laws. Our reaction to the truth today says what kind of society we want to be. Do we really want the truth or do want a truth that fits our narrative?
Do we want the facts or are we content to blindly accept our own version of events? We as a community must make this decision. I understand that Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death has become a part of a national story and conversation, but we must also remember the facts and the collection of evidence in this case are different than cases elsewhere in the country. Each is unique and cannot be compared. There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky would try to tell us how to feel suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t. Let’s not give into their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions. At the end of the day, it is up to us. We live here together. We work here and raise our families here together.
I urge those protesting on the streets to remember this. Peaceful protests are your right as an American citizen, instigating violence and destruction are not.
Mikkel Danielsen’s purple prose and perpetuation of the Big Lie is inexcusable. He’s doing the bidding of the “calebrities, influencers, and activists” that Cameron is warning against. It is a terrible tragedy that Breonna Taylor lost her life. We can all mourn her loss.
If Danielsen’s going to play the game of describing Breonna’s hopeful post-it notes, or the quiet romantic evening she and her boyfriend had planned, then given the decision by the grand jury, why not tell us a little about the personal lives of the officers who could just as easily have been killed?
The first person to get shot that March night was, after all, a police officer. Kenneth Walker even admits he was first to shoot. It’s not in dispute.
Cameron notes that “Sergeant Mattingly and Detectives Cosgrave and Hankison had no known involvement in the proceeding investigation or obtainment of the search warrant. They were called into duty as extra personnel to effectuate the service of the search warrant.”
So there’s Sergeant Mattingly, going about his duties, when someone calls him over: “Say, Sergeant, we’ve got a warrant needs to be served, you mind heading out with Cosgrave?”
So he goes along, and next thing he knows he’s been shot. Maybe he has hopeful post-it notes on his own bedroom wall. Maybe he’d had plans with someone for later that night. Granted he was lucky enough not to have been killed–but that was only luck.
And now two more Louisville cops have been shot because of the primordial rage on the streets–rage with no basis in rationality but grounded entirely in rumors stirred up by rabble rousing activists: Breonna was shot to death while sleeping in her own bed! The police could have saved her but just let her die! Those cops came rushing in a no-knock warrant and just starting firing away at Breonna and Walker because they were black!
All demonstrably false. All wrong. All untruths.
So if you want to understand why Louisville is burning, literally or metaphorically, the answer has nothing to do with what actually happened, and everything to do with what was said to have happened. And those are not the same things.
And a journalist ought to know the fucking difference… and that he’s part of the problem.