Kentucky Native George Clooney Reacts to Breonna Taylor Decision With Powerful Message

If anyone knows about Kentucky, it's George Clooney. The actor reacted to his home state's decision over Breonna Taylor's case on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

By Alyssa Morin Sep 24, 2020 1:18 AMTags

Kentucky native George Clooney is speaking out about Breonna Taylor's case.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, former police detective Brett Hankinson was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for his involvement in the fatal shooting of Taylor in March. Hankinson was charged for firing shots that entered Taylor's neighboring apartment.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not criminally charged. They were both, however, with Hankinson the night of March 13 when Taylor was fatally shot after authorities were granted a search warrant to enter her Louisville home in relation to a narcotics investigation. In the months following Taylor's death, the family's attorney, Lonita Baker, denied that she was involved in any drug activity.

During a Wednesday press conference following the announcement of the grand jury's decision, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove were "justified in their use of force" in response to a shot fired by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.

Cameron issued a response to the ongoing outcry over the case.

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"There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who have never lived in Kentucky who try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do," Cameron said. "But they do not."

Clooney, however, expressed how "ashamed" he was of the grand jury's decision.

"I was born and raised in Kentucky. Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month," he shared in a statement with E! News.

"The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions," he continued. "Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong."

He concluded, "I'm ashamed of this decision."

Getty Images; justiceforbreonna.org

This isn't the first time in recent months the actor has used his platform to bring attention to racial injustice and other social issues. In June, Clooney penned a powerful essay for The Daily Beast that was titled "George Clooney: America's Greatest Pandemic Is Anti-Black Racism."

"This is our pandemic," he wrote. "It infects all of us, and in 400 years we've yet to find a vaccine. It seems we've stopped even looking for one and we just try to treat the wound on an individual basis. And we sure haven't done a very good job of that."

Clooney touched on the Black Lives Matter movement and the nationwide protests held in Taylor and George Floyd's honor.

"The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we've grown as a country from our original sin of slavery," he explained. "The fact that we aren't actually buying and selling other human beings anymore is not a badge of honor. We need systemic change in our law enforcement and in our criminal justice system."

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"We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally," he continued. "Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle. Bull Connor was more subtle."

Before closing, Clooney left readers with a final message of hope.

"So this week, as we're wondering what it's going to take to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems, just remember we created these issues so we can fix them," he shared. "There is only one way in this country to bring lasting change: Vote."