Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after a grand jury returned its announcement regarding the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky:
“Breonna Taylor should be alive today. She’s dead. She’s dead because of a fundamentally racist system that cheapens her life and the lives of all Black people. Time and again, Black Americans are getting shot by officers because of a racist system in which public safety officials view white community members as the clients and Black community members as the enemy. A system that assumes when responding to Black Americans, force is the first resort instead of the last. A system whose consequences persist, despite the many individual officers who strive to do the right and just thing.
“Today’s indictment falls short of the transparent accountability that the public and Breonna Taylor’s loved ones deserve. I’m glad a police officer is being held accountable for recklessly endangering the lives of people they were supposed to serve, but let’s be clear: Our entire criminal justice enterprise does that every single day. That warrant should never have been issued; all use of no-knock warrants and choke holds must end. The rehiring of officers who break the law or use force without justification must end. Training must be vastly improved. In short, Congress must pass the Justice in Policing Act that I’ve co-sponsored. We need systemic change, and we need it now.
“Breonna Taylor. Say her name.”