On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor settled into bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker after she finished working back-to-back shifts as an emergency room technician in Louisville, Kentucky. At around 12:30 a.m., the couple heard banging coming from their front door, they asked who was at the door. They heard no response. Suddenly, the front door “flies off its hinges” and armed men began to enter their apartment. Walker, a licensed gun owner, fired at the intruders, shooting one in the leg, to protect himself and Ms. Taylor from unknown intruders.
The intruders returned fire, with around thirty rounds, killing Taylor. Taylor was innocent and only 26 years old when she died. The intruders who killed her were actually police officers in plain clothing executing what investigations are revealing to have been an invalid search warrant in the middle of the night.
The Fourth Amendment protects the right of the people against unreasonable searches, seizures, and warrantless conduct by government actors, such as police officers. The court has added safeguards to this amendment, with the seminal cases of U.S. v. Weeks and Mapp v. Ohio. The court created the exclusionary rule, which excludes evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment from criminal trials. Initially designed as a multifaceted legal mechanism to uphold judicial integrity, deter police misconduct and serve as a remedy for those who are victims of constitutional violations. The deterrent value was meant to help protect the public at large, especially those who are innocent of any wrongdoing, like Taylor, from being subject to such illegal searches and the deadly consequences they may present.
Posted with permission. Copyright 2021. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.