WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was a decision that did not satisfy the calls for justice from protestors or Breonna Taylor's family.
Wednesday a Jefferson County Grand Jury moved to indict former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankinson with wanton endangerment for recklessly shooting into nearby residences on the March night Taylor was killed after police shot into her apartment. None of the other cops involved will face criminal charges at this time.
"The Grand Jury does its job. The Judicial system does its job. Our job here is to make sure that we advocate for police reform that addresses legitimate grievances from the African American community while at the same time supporting community policing and responsible policing," said Rep. Andy Barr, (R-KY).
Members of Kentucky's Congressional delegation were measured in their reaction as they said they wanted more time to look at the indictment before offering a lengthy response.
When asked if federal police reform would quell the civil unrest witnessed across the country, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said, "The police are regulated by the states and the police report to the mayor so it's really not Congress' place to tell the mayor of Louisville how to run the police."
As the calls for equity and fairness continue, federal police reform efforts have stalled. That’s due in part to disagreement on the core issue of what contributes to disproportionate police violence in communities of color. Many Republicans maintain it's an issue of a few bad actors in law-enforcement while Democrats like Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville recognize recent episodes as linked to systemic racism.
"Congress is only one small piece in society of what needs to be done to address systemic racism. It's something that pervades our police forces. It pervades our business world. It pervades our education system. There are a lot of people that are going to have to work together to finally deal with the systemic racism in this country," said Yarmuth.
"It's totally irresponsible to overgeneralize. I think the vast majority of law enforcement in this country are brave, heroic, people who keep our communities safe," said Barr.
Some Republicans have criticized Democrats for the months of civil unrest as an illustration of a lack of leadership in Democratically-run American cities. Yarmuth rejects the notion.
"So much of this has to do with police culture. So much of this had to with union agreements that insulate and protect police from accountability. Those are things that occur everywhere, not just in cities with Democratic mayors," said Yarmuth.
Yarmuth says his mind remains on Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother.
"My heart breaks for her but I know what she would want to come out of this and that's the kind of societal changes that would make Breonna's case an isolated case," said Yarmuth.