The Whole System Is Guilty – Justice for Breonna Taylor


The below is the text of a leaflet Socialist Alternative members distributed at protests the night of the non-indictment in Breonna Taylor’s murder.

Under intense pressure from the political establishment, a Kentucky Grand Jury failed to charge any of the cops for the murder of Breonna Taylor. In what amounts to a slap in the face against those who spent six months fighting for #JusticeForBreonna, one of the cops will be charged for endangering her neighbors when he blindly shot 10 rounds from outside of Taylor’s apartment.

The Whole System is Guilty

Initially, the political establishment didn’t acknowledge her muder at all, even refusing to place the officers involved in her death on leave. It took relentless protests to get them to even look into her death. When they finally did, the investigation focused on discreting her, even trying  to bribe her boyfriend by offering him a plea deal in return for saying Breonna was a “criminal”.

When asked about Breonna’s murder earlier this month, Joe Biden said “I think we should let the judicial system work its way.” This couldn’t be more tone deaf. The Black Lives Matter rebellion this summer broke out precisely because of the failures of the judicial system!

Breonna’s real crime was being poor, Black, and at the wrong place at the wrong time living under the racist system of U.S. capitalism. She was murdered during a “no knock” military style raid, a common tactic of the racist “war on drugs”, which destroys the lives of millions of Black, brown and working class people. 

It would be a mistake to dismiss the important victories the movement has won so far, though there is a lot that still needs to be won. The most concrete win, “Breonna’s Law”, makes no-knock raids illegal in Louisville, and should be expanded nationally. Street protests are a critical tool in our struggle, but we need sustained organization in order to carry the movement forward.  

Socialist Alternative Calls For:

  • Prosecute the police! Indict all three killer cops involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.
  • We need a top-to-bottom purge of police forces across the country. Officers with histories of racism, sexism, and violence should be immediately fired. We need democratic community oversight of the police that can execute these purges. 
  • Expand the movement – We need to organize mass democratic community assemblies where working class people, especially people of color, play an active role in developing a strategy to respond to police repression, misinformation, and misleadership. Unions need to remember that “an injury to one is an injury to all”, get off the sidelines and join the struggle.
  • Build a political alternative to the Democratic Party – In Louisville and cities across the country, Democratic Party politicians are responsible for racist policing, a lack of affordable housing, underfunded schools and expensive, inadequate public transit. We need independent, working class, movement based candidates who are prepared to take on big business and the cops.
  • Dismantling the police means dismantling capitalism – Police violence is part and parcel of the capitalist system, which rests on structural racism and inequality. We need to fight for a tax on billionaires and corporations to build permanently affordable socially-owned housing, a green jobs program, quality public  schools, free transit, and health care for all. Connected to this fight for immediate reforms, we need to fight for a society without police repression. This can only be built on socialist foundations, where the economy is democratically controlled to improve the lives of all.