The horrifying video of George Floyd’s death, and the protests that followed, led to a rare occurrence: The police officers responsible are being prosecuted. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and remains in jail, and three other officers are facing lesser charges.
Kentucky’s recent decision not to bring homicide charges against the officers who killed Breonna Taylor is much more typical. Most instances of law enforcement brutality do not result in criminal charges, even when they are captured on video. They often result in no consequences at all. This includes many cases of excessive force in response to the protests after Floyd’s death, but the problem is long standing, and not restricted to local police.
Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. was not prosecuted or disciplined for shooting and killing a 15-year-old boy, and the Supreme Court ruled last year that the boy’s parents could not sue.
And the list goes on.