The news I just got on my phone reminds me of something I meant to share a few days back.
The news is that a cop — actually, now former cop, Brett Hankison — has been indicted in the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.
And it reminds me of some podcasts of “The Daily” that I meant to recommend earlier, but forgot.
Most directly, it reminds me of the two-part series the NYT podcast did on “The Killing of Breonna Taylor” on Sept. 9 and 10. Here’s the first part, and here’s the second.
It was really educational. It started with the recording of an incident that happened long before Ms. Taylor’s death, which actually led to the changes in Louisville police procedures that eventually led to the raid that killed her.
It provided a reality-based understanding of what happened. It was horrific, but also contained all the complex texture of real life. You had the fact that this kind of policing was actually based on “reforms” from what had gone before. You were appalled at the bad intel upon which the raid was based. You were as shocked as the cops were when it turned out her boyfriend (who they didn’t know was there) had a gun, and he fired it and nearly killed the first cop in the door by hitting him in the femoral artery. You felt the fear that caused the boyfriend to shoot, and the cops’ panic as they turned their attention from their initial purpose to getting an ambulance to the scene.
And you mourned the shocking tragedy of this young woman’s unnecessary death.
And, when Hankison was indicted today, you had the background to think, “Well, if one person was going to be indicted, he was the one.” (That is, if he’s the one — and the sketchy reports I’m reading indicate he was — who, in the podcast, was described as stepping away from the apartment entrance during the confusion and firing wildly at the apartment and a neighboring apartment, through the walls and windows. That guy was fired back in June, if my memory serves.)
The podcast gave insights that exceed the simplicity of the black-and-white demands of protesters, or of idiot presidents who criticize those who protest.
Anyway, I recommend it, if you can get past the paywall (I’m not sure how that works with podcasts; I’m a subscriber).
And I also recommend one from a couple of days earlier, which was less depressing — even uplifting — but also ultimately distressing.
It was called “Who Replaces Me?” It was the story, told in his own words, of a veteran black cop from Flint, Mich. You learn of his background as a kid who grew up with a father in prison, determined to be whatever his father was not. You hear about him becoming a cop, and amazing his trainers out on patrol, because on every call, he knows and understands the people on the scene.
You hear about him being the guy who intervened when white cops weren’t giving any basic human consideration to black suspects. You hear the stories of when he has “given out his cellphone number, driven students to prom and provided food and money to those who were hungry.” You hear his quiet pride at the service he provides to his community.
And then you hear of his dismay and disillusionment at such events as the killing of George Floyd. It’s the voice of a guy who finds himself contemplating retirement, but wondering, “Who Replaces Me?”
It’s the story of a hero — the real kind, not the cartoon sort. The kind of guy whose narrative doesn’t fit easily into the narratives of left or right.
Anyway, if you can, I recommend listening to that, too…