ESPN analyst Jalen Rose waited right before a commercial break to deliver the most brutal of his reactions to Wednesday’s Kentucky grand jury decision not to charge one of the Louisville cops implicated in the murder of black woman Breonna Taylor with homicide charges.
Rose shouted a familiar refrain to members of the Black Lives Matter movement: “It would also be a great day to stop the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor.” His comment came while covering the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and the Celtics.
Taylor was shot and killed by three police officers in March after entering her apartment without knocking. They carried a warrant for drug trafficking against her ex-boyfriend, but he was not at the residence and no drugs were found. Taylor’s then boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, once shot police when they entered, thinking they were intruders, and punched an officer in the leg. The cops retaliated with a barrage of bullets that killed Taylor and pierced through walls and into a nearby apartment.
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with three counts of first degree endangerment for his alleged indiscriminate shooting, but the other two cops were not charged with the grand jury announcement. Hankison was released from prison after paying his $ 15,000 bond.
Taylor’s death was one of many that sparked nationwide protests against police brutality this summer and bolstered a militant Black Lives Matter movement working to increase justice while curbing systemic racism in the U.S. police of unarmed black man George Floyd at the end of May also played a key role in pushing people to demonstrate.
The anti-black police force has sparked protests on numerous occasions over the past decades, but few unified expanses of outrage have been as sustained or powerful as it is today.
Anticipating a backlash at the Kentucky grand jury’s decision regarding officers who entered Taylor’s apartment, Louisville officials announced a curfew at least on Friday. On Wednesday evening, however, the protesters ignored this instruction.
NBA athletes have been particularly outspoken on social justice issues this summer, reflecting on their own experiences with law enforcement and sympathizing with the stories of others. Many of them feel that black people in the United States have long been mistreated by police and advocate reforms, such as ending the arrest warrant that played a role in Taylor’s death.
As a result, Rose was among a series of current and former players dismayed by the choice not to charge anyone involved in Taylor’s murder with homicide.
His method of conveying his message was as strong as any seen in the NBA community on Wednesday – and an unusual remark for a network that has at times attempted to steer clear of politically sensitive issues.