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Breonna Taylor ruling ‘a watershed moment for the Black Lives Matter movement’

A former Louisville police officer has been indicted by a grand jury on first-degree wanton endangerment charges for his actions on the night Breonna Taylor was killed by police. Two other officers at the shooting were not indicted.

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law professor Sheila Bedi and Northwestern political science professor Alvin Tillery, also director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy, are available for comment.

To request an interview, connect with faculty directly using the contact information below, or email Hilary Hurd Anyaso at h-anyaso@northwestern.edu.

Interview faculty about Breonna Taylor's killing

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Alvin B. Tillery Jr.

Associate professor of political science; director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy

Tillery's research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics.

“The failure to indict the officers who killed Breonna Taylor after bursting into her apartment in March shows how difficult it is to hold police officers accountable for their misconduct and poor performance in cases that involve deadly force. What is beyond belief is that the one charge brought in the case will be against an officer for firing into a neighboring apartment in the act of killing Ms. Taylor. 

“The ruling is a watershed moment for the Black Lives Matter movement. For more than three months we have seen activists organizing mostly peaceful, disciplined protests demanding charges against the officers in the case. What today showed is that protests are not going to be enough to generate accountability in such a badly broken system. The activists are going to have to supplement their disruptive protests with political organizing and voting if they are going to change the environment in Kentucky.” 

Sheila Bedi

Clinical professor of law

Bedi litigates civil rights claims on behalf of people who have endured police violence and abusive prison conditions. She also represents grassroots community groups seeking to end mass imprisonment and to redress abusive policing.

“When we call for justice for these victims of race-based violence, we’re calling for the criminal prosecution of their killers. And criminal prosecution alone will do nothing to shift the culture of fear, hatred and oppression that allows these race-based killings to happen over and over and over again. …There’s a deep, terrible, tragic irony here — that we have to look to the very system that was an accomplice to these killings for relief — for some facsimile of justice.”