Fierce

A Kentucky Grand Jury Indicts One Police Officer In Connection To Breonna Taylor’s Death

Updated September 23, 2020

After months of nationwide outrage and protest, a Kentucky grand jury has indicted one of the police officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s death. Taylor’s death set off nationwide protests against police brutality and the health crisis of unarmed Black people being killed by police.

One officer involved with Breonna Taylor’s death has been indicted by a grand jury.

The grand jury indicted former police officer Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment for firing his gun into three neighboring apartments. The indictment does not include Hankison firing his weapon into Taylor’s apartment. The two other officers involved with the shooting death of Taylor, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.

“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible,” then Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote when terminating Hankison more than three months after Taylor’s death. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”

Many consider the news a step in the right direction but for many it is not enough.

Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed when police executed a no-knock warrant and broke into her home while she was sleeping. The police had the wrong address and opened fire on Taylor when they saw her. Her boyfriend fired his gun in response and was arrested that night. Taylor was killed on March 13, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that she was helping to combat.

Police in several cities and states are on standby following the decision to monitor the public’s response. Police chiefs in several cities are prepared to unrest as a result of the indictment news.

Updated September 15, 2020.

Seven months after a botched no-knock raid killed 26-year-old EMT worker Breonna Taylor, her family is finally experiencing some sort of reckoning over an event that was utterly inexplicable. This week, her family agreed to a $12 million settlement with the city of Louisville. The settlement also includes a massive change to policing in the city including the mandatory use of body cameras on police raids.

The family’s wrongful death lawsuit is the largest in Louisville’s history. The settlement tops a previous one in 2012 in which a man wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to prison for nine years was awarded $8.5 million.

The settlement does not mean that the open investigation on the shooting, or the potential for criminal charges against the officers involved, is over.

To date, only Brett Hankinson (one out of three officers involved) has been fired. The other two remain on administrative leave.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the Taylor family’s attorney Anita Baker stated that “It’s important for her family to minimize the risk of what happened to Breonna Taylor from happening to any other family in Louisville, Kentucky, and we’re going to continue the fight beyond Louisville.”

Allegations of sexual assault have been raised against Officer Brett Hankison, one of the three white officers accused of fatally shooting Breonna Taylor on March 13.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician was an aspiring nurse from Louisville, Ky. She was shot by police when they were taking part in a search warrant at the wrong apartment. The three officers involved in the shooting have not yet been charged with Taylor’s death but it’s Hankison who might be facing additional charges outside of the case.

Allegations against Hankison were raised earlier this summer by two women on social media.

According to People.com, Louisville Metro Police has reached out to the women in regards to their allegations to allow the department’s Public Integrity Unit to “initiate and conduct an investigation.”

Hankinson’s role in the death of Taylor has (along with the murder of George Floyd) sparked protests across the country.

Hankinson and the two other officers ( Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove) involved were placed on administrative leave following her death. It is now up to the department to investigate their actions. Renewed scrutiny of Hankinon’s history as an officer will hopefully influence his case. After all, Hankinson is at the center of an ongoing civil lawsuit in federal court which, according to Courier-Journal accuses “him of unrelated unnecessary arrests and harassment of another man, which Hankison has denied.”

According to Louisville TV station WHAS, in that civil lawsuit, Kendrick Wilson describes Hankison as “a dirty cop with a vendetta.” Hankinson arrested Wilson three times between 2016 and 2018 each time at bars where Hankisonwas employed as off-duty security. In his lawsuit, Wilson alleged that he and Hankinson had interactions outside of those arrests, “including over a relationship with the same woman.”

Margo Borders is one of the woman who accused Hankinson of sexual assault in a post to her Facebook in April 2018.

In April of 2018 I went out to a bar with some friends. I went to call an uber home and a police officer who I had…

Posted by Margo Borders on Thursday, June 4, 2020

“A police officer who I had interacted with on many occasions at bars in St. Matthews offered me a ride home. He drove me home in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious” Borders wrote in her claim. “I never reported him out of fear of retaliation. I had no proof of what happened and he had the upper hand because he was a police officer. Who do you call when the person who assaulted you is a police officer? Who were they going to believe? I knew it wouldn’t be me.” In her claim, Borders accused Hankinson by name.

In the second claim, a woman who identified herself as Emily Terry took to Instagram to report him last fall.

“I began walking home from a bar intoxicated. A police officer pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home. I thought to myself, ‘Wow. That is so nice of him.’ And willingly got in,” she explained. “He began making sexual advances towards me; rubbing my thigh, kissing my forehead, and calling me ‘baby.’ Mortified, I did not move. I continued to talk about my grad school experiences and ignored him. As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back. My friend reported this the next day, and of course, nothing came from it.”

In response to questions about whether more formal complaints of Hankinson’s sexual harassment or sexual misconduct have been filed, his department said thatt they are still investigating the current complaints.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the department said “We encourage anyone with direct information about this situation to contact us and share that information with an investigator at (502) 574-7144.”

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People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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