Since the Louisville, Kentucky police killed Breonna Taylor in the middle of the night in her own apartment, the United States has seen an uptick in protests against racially motivated police violence. However, the officers responsible for her death have not been criminally charged, in part because her boyfriend, unaware that police were entering the apartment in the middle of the night, shot one of the officer’s in the leg, “justifying” the next six rounds that were shot by the police and ultimately killed an innocent woman during the botched police raid.
As if this was not outrageous enough, in October 2020, the officer shot during the police raid, Jonathan Mattingly, who killed Taylor, filed a lawsuit against Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend alleging “battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Unfortunately, this series of events is not surprising, as the affirmative defense of “self defense” is unevenly and rarely applied when police are the perpetrators of deadly violence. This is especially concerning as police continue to routinely abuse their power by killing innocent people, yet are rarely held accountable for their actions. The police are so accustomed to immunity to consequences for use of deadly force, that they even have the nerve to sue innocent bystanders who acted out of self defense during an act of police brutality that ended in the killing of an innocent woman.
Diebold, Jude, "Reimagining Criminal Justice: In Defense of Self-Defense" (2021). Reimagining Criminal Justice. 7.