On Wednesday, September 23, a jury in the state of Kentucky indicted former police detective Brett Hankinson on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for his role in the shooting of Breonna Taylor back in May. However, the two other detectives who accompanied Hankinson in Taylor’s apartment, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not charged with any crime. This decision has caused a lot of outrage, and George Clooney is expressing that he is “ashamed”.
The three officers were searching Taylor’s apartment for narcotics investigation after authorities granted them a search warrant. However, Breonna Taylor’s family attorney Lonita Baker has categorically denied that she was involved in any such activity.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that the officers were “justified in their use of force”. This was because they did so in response to a shot fired by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Moreover, Cameron also expressed his problem with celebrity outcry, saying:
“There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who have never lived in Kentucky who 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 do not.”
George Clooney is “ashamed” of the Breonna Taylor case decision
However, George Clooney does not fall under the same umbrella, as Kentucky is his home state. And so, he did not shy back in calling out the jury for their decision on the Breonna Taylor case. The 59-year-old told E! News:
“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. Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death.”
Moreover, George Clooney also mentioned how he knows Kentucky through and through, and that this is not what he was taught there. And so, he concluded his remarks by again mentioning how ashamed he was of this decision:
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.”
Clooney has spoken about racial injustice in recent months
George Clooney has been outspoken about racism in America before the Breonna Taylor shooting as well. He has used his platform repeatedly to highlight the issue. Back in June, he wrote a powerful essay in The Daily Beast, saying how racism and racial injustice were the real diseases:
“This is our pandemic. It infects all of us, and in 400 years we’ve yet to find a vaccine. It seems we’ve stopped even looking for one and we just try to treat the wound on an individual basis. And we sure haven’t done a very good job of that.”
Clooney also commended the Black Lives Matter movement and the nationwide protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and dozens of others, saying:
“The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we’ve grown as a country from our original sin of slavery. The fact that we aren’t actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system.”