September 23, 2020

Jobs With Justice Statement on Grand Jury’s Decision Not to Charge Police with Murder of Breonna Taylor



Contact: Nick Voutsinos, Jobs With Justice,, 717-413-7613 

Statement from Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley:  

The Grand Jury’s decision to not charge the police who killed Breonna Taylor with murder is appalling, but not surprising. 

LouisvilleK.Y. — Today, September 23194 days after the murder of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, the Kentucky Grand Jury decided to only charge one the three officers involved with the minor crime of “wanton endangerment,” rather than with homicide. Jobs With Justice Executive Director, Erica Smiley — the first Black woman to lead national Jobs With Justice — issued the following statement: 

The grand jury’s decision to issue a slap on the wrist, rather than charge the officers who killed Breonna Taylor with murder, is appalling but not surprising. Remember, it was our broken justice system that led to Breonna Taylor’s death in the first place. It was a judge who signed the no-knock warrant that allowed police to use a battering ram to break into Breonna’s apartment without warning, to fire their weapons blindly into Breonna’s bedroom, and to shoot Breonna five times and kill her.  

The justice system failed Breonna again by not appropriately charging the officers who so recklessly killed her — one of whom is already bragging that he did the moral thing that night. This proves that there is a cultural, systemic problem within our justice and public safety systems. Until judges stop giving officers like these a license to kill, until we get every single person who thinks it’s moral to barge into someone’s apartment unannounced, guns blazing, out of public safety, the justice system will continue to fail Black people like Breonna. This slap on the wrist is yet another reason why we must keep fighting to dismantle and reorganize this system. 

Jobs With Justice has strong roots in Kentucky and within the Louisville community. Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott is the former Executive Director of Jobs With Justice’s Kentucky affiliate, and is an active, progressive voice within her Louisville community. Jobs With Justice’s thoughts are with the people of Louisville, and we stand with them as they continue to fight for true justice for Breonna. 

To schedule an interview with Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley, please email Nick Voutsinos at 


Jobs With Justice is the country’s leading nonprofit in the fight for workplace and economic democracy. Comprising of a national network of local affiliates in nearly every state, Jobs With Justice brings together coalitions of unions, worker organizations, community groups, students, and faith institutions to win concrete improvements in people’s lives. 

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