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Law professors, students gather to discuss legality of Breonna Taylor case

Racial Injustice Kentucky Impatience
Posted at 2:43 PM, Oct 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-25 15:20:45-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported Northern Kentucky University Professor Michael Mannheimer’s statements at the symposium.

Law professors and students across the country gathered over zoom today to discuss the legality behind the Breonna Taylor case.

Only one of the three officers involved in Breonna Taylor's death is indicted for wanton endangerment back in September.

A lot of the discussion was centered around the case, how it was handled, and if the charges are adequate.

One of the panel members was Sam Aguiar, the attorney for Breonna Taylor's family. He believes the case begins with defining who the attacker is. In his opinion, since there was no knock, Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's Boyfriend, acted completely within his rights by firing back.

"Kenneth Walker acted only in response to the officers," Aguiar said. "Every single apartment around Breonna's place everybody says they did not hear an announcement."

Michael Mannheimer, a law professor at Northern Kentucky University, agreed with Aguiar that Walker was justified in firing at police.

"The question is were the police the initial aggressors or was there no initial aggressor?" Mannheimer said during the panel discussion. "There are cases where there just is no initial aggressor. [Kenneth] Walker was entirely justified . . . in firing at the police. But that doesn't mean that the police were not also justified in firing back. You can have a situation where two parties firing at each other, one is mistaken or both are mistaken about what’s going on, and both are justified …. Neither one is culpable."

Mannheimer also discussed Kentucky laws regarding self-defense. He noted that, in other jurisdictions, "one is not responsible for inadvertently or accidentally shooting a bystander when one is justified in shooting an aggressor." But he added that in Kentucky, wantonness or recklessness does make one liable.