Since the season restarted in July, Lakers guard Danny Green has started his press conferences by demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville police in her home on March 13.
Before Green was made available to the media on Wednesday, there was an update on Taylor’s case — the most significant update there’s been since Taylor’s death. On Wednesday, a Jefferson County grand jury decided against charging the two officers that shot Taylor, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove. Instead, a former detective, Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of “wanton endangerment” for firing bullets that traveled into a neighboring apartment. Taylor’s name wasn’t mentioned in the charges.
The Lakers were on their way to a team meeting when the news broke, and because of that, Green said he only able to speak to his teammates briefly, but he got the sense that his teammates weren’t satisfied with the verdict.
“Nobody was really happy about it. It was disappointing. I guess in a sense, something was done, but it wasn’t enough. Most guys thought it was definitely not enough.”
One of the players that was able to voice his frustration about the verdict after practice was Alex Caruso.
“Obviously the results of what happened is not significant enough, not harsh enough in the eyes of people that are fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, and I’m not sure legally what the process is next,” Caruso said. “I’ll have to do some more research and find some more information out, but hopefully there are more steps to be able to gain better justice for her.”
Caruso was one of the several NBA players that sat in on a Zoom call with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, in July, and he said left the call with a deep respect for the way Taylor’s family has handled this tragedy.
“I always try to put myself in the position of the people that are going through stuff,” Caruso said. “I try to be as emotionally connected as I can, and I try to imagine if that was one of my sisters or one of my parents. Those people are a lot stronger and a lot more professional with the way they handle themselves then I think I would if it happened to somebody that I knew.”
The Lakers will continue to use their platform to promote justice for Taylor and the countless other victims of police brutality, but Wednesday’s verdict was a reminder of how much there still needs to be done in the fight against police brutality and racial equality.
“I think we’re being heard, but obviously the goals that we’re trying to achieve ... we’re very far away from after seeing today’s verdict,” Green said. “It’s a disappointment. We feel like we’ve taken a step back, that we haven’t made the progress we were seeking. Our voices aren’t being heard loud enough. But we’re not going to stop.
“We’re going to continue. We’re going to continue fighting, we’re going to continue to push, we’re going to continue to use our voices. But yeah, after today’s verdict, seems like every time we turn around and look at the news, it’s always something disheartening or disappointing, and that’s from all standpoints of what’s going on in our country. We’re not happy about it, but can’t give up hope, can’t quit, got to keep fighting and try to make things better, not just for us but for our future children, future grandkids. We want it to be a better place here for them to live.”