Memphis attorney calls Breonna Taylor grand jury decision ‘complicated’

Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 10:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After six months of waiting for answers in the Breonna Taylor case, some people are expressing grief of no charges being filed in the case.

One attorney WMC Action News Five spoke to said there just doesn’t appear to be an easy answer in this case.

Longtime Memphis Attorney Walter Bailey knows a thing or two about trying police officers.

He says he’s had five wrongful death cases involving police officers.

One of those cases is the landmark Tennessee vs. Garner case which barred officers from using deadly force on a fleeing suspect.

Bailey and his team argued the case in the 1980s before the U.S. Supreme court.

It changed the way officers across the country can use excessive force.

Bailey says the Breonna Taylor case is a tough call to make.

“It’s a gray area, there’s no absolute answer to it. It just depends on how the officers perceived it,” said Bailey.

The state attorney general in Kentucky says no charges were filed in Taylor’s death because the officers fired in self-defense.

On March 13, Taylor was shot multiple times in her home during a search warrant looking for drugs.

However, Taylor was not the target, her ex-boyfriend was.

He fired one shot and officers returned fire, striking Taylor.

Bailey says the officers should have done more surveillance to see who was in the home.

“At that point it seems to me, that’s where I assess blame on the officers,” says Bailey. “You don’t know whether there’s innocent people in there and yet you just start firing, Now that’s where I think the culpability of the police officers are."

Wednesday’s decision comes after weeks of protests and a social media campaign to bring criminal charges against the officers who shot Taylor.

Since Taylor’s death, the Louisville City Council voted to bar “no-knock” warrants.

Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari vowed on Twitter Wednesday to bring forth legislation to do the same in Tennessee.

While the Louisville police officers did have a “no-knock” search warrant, witnesses say they heard the officers knocking and the attorney general says the officers did identify themselves.

Bailey has his own thoughts to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“I mean, I think we’ve got plenty of criminal laws that apply to not only civilians but police offices as well. It’s all about the culture of how police officers are trained and using good reasonable judgement,” said Bailey.

The Memphis Police Department has already banned “no-knock” warrants.

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