Talk:Killing of Breonna Taylor

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Lead is still a bit unbalanced: "when three white police officers... forced entry"[edit]

I am foreseeing an issue with trying to describe the race(s) of the officers involved. The lead currently states that "three white police officers... forced entry" into the apartment. However, there were more officers than those three who were involved in the forced entry. For instance... how about the officer with the battering ram? Why is he (she?) not front and center in this list? According to an NYT source, there were around "eight or 10 officers". Why are they not all listed as being involved in the forced entry? Upon identifying them, must we also clarify their race? Ender and Peter 20:39, 5 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Seems that those are the only three officers to have fired.[1] Presumably why they have gotten most of the attention. This recently from Reuters still identifies the officers with "white". Perhaps reword about which officers forced entry and who specifically fired shots?—Bagumba (talk) 01:34, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I greatly appreciate the additional information. I do not dispute that those three officers were the only ones who fired, nor that several articles identify those officers as white. The problem with the current phrasing is how it singles out those three as the ones who forced entry, as though they acted independently. Clearly, this was a much bigger operation and other officers actually breached the door. Problems will arise when trying to identify these individuals, let alone their race. It is unclear why the race of the officers who shot is significant but the races of other officers involved are not.
My main concern is that if this article continues a trend of feeling obligated to identify the race of individuals involved, then it is going to have severe neutrality issues, which I fear it is already exhibiting.
And although several articles do use the word "plainclothes" to describe them, it is notable that they had tactical vests, and one had a shield while another had a battering ram. We should reconsider repeating this phrase. Ender and Peter 16:23, 6 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
...trend of feeling obligated to identify the race of individuals involved...: The past consensus has been that it's WP:DUE based on mention in sources. There's no other "obligation" that Wikipedia has w.r.t. race. It seems that the three officers are the most frequently discussed, and worthy of mention in the lead. AFAIK, the identity of the others in the raid is not as prevalent, and can at most be mentioned in the body, if there's relevant coverage. Still, I agree the lead can be tweaked to not imply that those three officers were the only ones who helped force entry.—Bagumba (talk) 04:01, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you very much for this conversation. Sorry, I usually communicate in walls of text, so I sincerely appreciate you reading.
I just watched the video that the first sentence of the lead uses as a source. It does not describe the races of the individuals involved. Also, in the 3D reconstruction in the video, where the police are wearing body gear that says "POLICE" I might point out, and in the comments from the narrator, they plainly acknowledge that more than three people were involved in the forced entry, a point which I appreciate you acknowledging. I agree with you that naming the three officers who shot, as they are very understandably front and center, and clarifying their involvement are appropriate.
Yes, there are sources that specify the race of the individuals, but at the moment this article is unduly using these descriptions.
The issue is more with the manner in which this information is presented. I am not saying that race should not be mentioned at all here. As has been pointed out in previous discussions, clearly race is significant in understanding peoples' reaction to this event. But simply repeating certain words and phrases only because they are in other sources is going to make this article say things that it does not intend to say. Some of these sources have strong biases, or are intentionally communicating certain ideas to their audience. This is going to happen with newspapers, given that they target a very different audience than encyclopedias.
I recommend an edit very much akin to another related discussion I left comments on above. I suggest that the lead start with a summary more faithful to the information provided by the NYT video, regarding multiple people forcing entry and no commentary on race. This video is very appropriate for the first source introducing the reader to all of this information. Even though I dispute some of their conclusions, the information they present is very important and laid out comprehensively.
Sentences following the initial one should talk more about the racial questions that have emerged, being careful to pinpoint who has been asking these questions. A direct quote is not always required, but a summary of viewpoints needs to be expressed in a neutral manner so that it is clear that Wikipedia is not endorsing such a viewpoint. For instance, Daily Beast is a bit more biased on how they talk about these questions of race as though these questions are coming out of thin air and they are not the ones in fact asking them indirectly. Whereas Courier Journal, left-leaning as it may be, is much more careful to say who has made what statements about race so as to make clear they are not the ones making these statements.
I will put some thought into how to do this, but please tell me what you think. Thank you. Ender and Peter 17:26, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
"plainclothes": IIRC, there was some pics of the officers wearing gear and body cameras before the raid, but was there any confirmation one way or the other what they actually wore during the raid? I don't think they ultimately used cameras, or at least there is no footage. AFAIK, "plainclothers" means not in official police uniform, not that they can't have gear on.—Bagumba (talk) 04:01, 7 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I've put more thought into this. I think I have a good plan for less confusion about how race is talked about in the lead. The best solution is to make clear why race is significant in this case.
Some bias, or perhaps at least the appearance, may still be present and is probably unavoidable. By not saying certain things, it very well may appear that something else is being said. Nevertheless, we can continue to fine tune this article to near perfection, as far as making it an indisputable paragon of truth.
By the way, I invite anyone who cares about this article to join this discussion, because I plan to alter the lead and a lot of feedback would be greatly appreciated. I enjoy talking with Bagumba, but it would be excellent to hear from more readers/editors.
As I survey this list, I notice a few trends:
  • It is customary to mention the age and race of the article subject in the first sentence. The term African-American is used the most often.
  • Leads with no source tend to describe the race of the offender(s) while sourced leads tend not to. I am seeing this adhered to with very few exceptions, such as Killing of Tamir Rice
Bearing this in mind, here is what I propose. Where you see an ellipsis () is text left untouched:

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman, was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment on March 13, 2020, when at least seven police officers forced entry into the apartment as part of an investigation into drug dealing operations. Three police officers: Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) were involved in the shooting.1

The shooting of Taylor by white police officers, and the lack of charges for her death, led to numerous protests that added to those across the United States against police brutality and racism.2

Note how even though the source does not mention Taylor's age or race, this is nevertheless included to be consistent with similar articles, and this information is found in the sources here. Also note that although the text directly states that the officers are white, it is done so specifically in the context of what is said in the referenced source.
Ender and Peter 08:57, 11 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Bagumba and Firefangledfeathers: I hope you don't mind the ping. I figured you are both interested in this discussion.
If there are no objections, I'm going to go ahead and make this change. I was hoping more editors/readers might share their views so we could be sure to talk about it before making an edit, but I'm taking the absence of disagreement as agreement. If not, I do hope we can talk more here.
I have a strong feeling this edit will help readers understand how what happened to Breonna Taylor plays a part in discussions about racial discrimination, in a manner that maintains objectivity and clarity. Ender and Peter 21:05, 17 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Firefangledfeathers: Thanks for the recent edit. I'm glad to know you are okay with these changes in general.
I do understand feeling compelled to talk about the racial component earlier in the lead because that context does seem to be an aspect that makes what happened to Taylor particularly notable. I did first consider finding a way to do that, however I realized that it is best to let the text/sources speak for themselves. The two sources on the sentence "Three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers..." do mention the race of the officers. Even if they do not explicitly setup the context, there is at least some attempt to do so.
For instance, Breonna Taylor: Police officer charged but not over death says "Ms Taylor's relatives and activists for whom her death has become a rallying cry had been calling for the three officers, who are all white, to be charged with murder or manslaughter." We are given some reason to understand why their race is being mentioned. Even though "racial discrimination" is not specifically brought up, the fact that relatives and activists have made a rallying cry communicates why race might be significant. The language in this Wikipedia article should be more explicit, though. That way, there will be much less confusion as to why race is mentioned.
Likewise, in Breonna Taylor’s Life Was Changing. Then the Police Came to Her Door, the article talks about responses from Oprah Winfrey, and then Beyoncé who called for the "three white officers who opened fire to be criminally charged". Statements by prominent black women leaders talking about the race of the officers clearly communicates that they suspect racial discrimination was involved.
In the lead here, as it is currently setup anyway, it seems like the best place to start talking about racial components is when the lead mentions discussions on discrimination and impartial treatment that surround this incident. I fear that if we were to add "Three white Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers..." to the beginning, I'm quite sure that would bring up the original issue of why the article is talking about race without first explicitly laying out some context.
I would also point out that sending seven or more police officer's to one's door might already sound like overkill to a rational reader, in addition to the difference in bullets shot on either side along with the aftermath of consequences, all which should prime the reader for later extrapolations on why there have been strong accusations of unfair treatment. Ender and Peter 21:40, 19 March 2022 (UTC)[reply]
i would like to know about why there are any references to race or why they are missing when refering to the white officers. . i was directed to the killing of Tyre Nichols from Quora where some right wing nut job was comlpaining why the police officers invovled were condemned so quickly...especially in contrast to the killing of Breonna Taylor ( tthis entry states that Breonna is black but done mention race when i comes to the seven WHITE cops involved??!
the FIRST line of states "On January 7, 2023, five Black police officers of the Memphis Police Department (MPD)". Coshydrogeo (talk) 05:57, 6 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Coshydrogeo: The third sentence in the lead begins The killing of Taylor by white police officers... As recent as March 2022, the first sentence of the lead made reference to "three white police officers".[2] What would you propose? —Bagumba (talk) 06:25, 6 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
i think i was trying to lead in to a bigger picture conversation. i am in australia and struggle with the race situation in the USA. i think it needs to be an all in or all out situation. in the Taylor article it clearly states that she is black early in the piece and nothing about the cops until much later. in the Nichols article it identifies everyone as black inteh first two lines. it is a crpyy situation and i dont know how to fix it. Coshydrogeo (talk) 23:58, 6 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There is a similar theme to the two articles for which I can understand why you would expect a similar lead. This article needed clarification regarding who was being identified as white when it came to the police involved in forcing entry. The clarification that the news articles identify the officers involved in the shooting as white will, I hope, help keep this article balanced. The current wording of the lead for Killing_of_Tyre_Nichols seems appropriate to me, more or less. Yes, there is no "right" way to go about this. I appreciate that the editors of this article want to stay very objective while still addressing subjective concerns. Ender and Peter 20:01, 2 May 2023 (UTC)[reply]

The motive[edit]

Huh?! I surprised that there is no word motive mentioned in this page to support the purpose of killing her. Why there is no word motive mentioned in this page? 2404:8000:1027:85F6:5C73:58D:9D4A:C313 (talk) 04:05, 9 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

If you know of one that is missing, feel free to indentify the reliable source(s) to support its addition.—Bagumba (talk) 04:39, 9 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Description of Kenneth Walker[edit]

I see that my edits were reverted. My edit of the lede is less important, but I really feel that presenting that Walker “thought” police were intruders as an objective fact (as it currently reads) is problematic. The fact that his charges were ultimately dropped does not change this from simply being a claim he is making (noting that apparently the word “claim” is not generally used on Wiki, or that the claim is of actually quite believable in these circumstances, but still a claim nonetheless). I got a nice patronising “welcome to Wikipedia” comment for my efforts, so I’m keen to see what everyone else’s thoughts are before I start an edit war. To be honest, even the “persons involved” heading and the rest of the descriptions are weird too, but that is a separate issue. Cbe46 (talk) 09:04, 13 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Per MOS:CLAIM, we generally neutrally present what people say with "said" and the like, not "claim". A reader can think "claim" if they choose to interpret it as so, but it's not Wikipedia's place to add such doubt, unless it's supported by WP:WEIGHT. The lead currently says: ...but Walker said he did not hear any announcement, thought the officers were intruders, and fired a warning shot at them. Is there any doubt that he said this?—Bagumba (talk) 10:51, 13 March 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Remove Cosgrove's 2023 hiring from the lead?[edit]

The last sentence of the lead is In 2021, the LMPD fired Cosgrove, and in 2023 he was hired as a law enforcement officer by Caroll County, Kentucky, because Cosgrove had faced no legal consequences for the killing. I'm not sure talking about a person who has been convicted of no crime's current employer is necessary in the lead. Seems like that might be too much WP:WEIGHT. Thoughts? –Novem Linguae (talk) 01:12, 25 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. His future employment is not critical for the lead of Taylor's killing.—Bagumba (talk) 05:15, 25 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]