FORMER NBA star Charles Barkley has said he's "sorry" Breonna Taylor was tragically killed but dismissed 'defund the police' as "crap."
Barkley, who is now an analyst for NBA on TNT, reacted to the Breonna Taylor indictment decision before the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets playoff game tipped off on Thursday night.
He argued Taylor's death can't be compared to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery or George Floyd because her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired shots at cops.
Arbery was killed on February 23 by two white men while jogging in Georgia; Floyd died in police custody on May 26 after a white cop kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis.
"It’s bad this young lady lost her life," he said of Taylor. "But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend did shoot at the cops and shot a cop."
He continued: "So, like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I don’t think we can just say we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. I just don’t believe that."
The former NBA All-Star then went on to slam the idea of defunding police forces around the country, saying that prison reform is a more pressing issue to focus on.
He bashed supporters of the movement as "fools" and questioned who black Americans are supposed to call when in danger if not law enforcement.
"You know, I hear these fools on TV talking about ‘defund the police’ and things like that. We need police reform and prison reform and things like that. Because you know, who ain’t gonna defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods," said Barkley.
"So that notion they keep saying that … I’m like, wait a minute. Who are Black people supposed to call — Ghostbusters? — when we have crime in our neighborhoods?"
"We need police reform. Like I say, White people — especially rich White people — they’re always gonna have cops, so we need to stop that 'defund' or 'abolish the cops' crap,” he added.
A Jefferson County grand jury announced on Wednesday that former Louisville Metro Police Department officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.
But neither Hankison nor his LMPD colleagues Myles Cosgrove or Jonathan Mattingly face criminal charges in connection with Taylor's shooting death.
The indictment was announced nearly 200 days after the 26-year-old black medic was shot six times by the white cops who busted into her home during a drug raid on March 13.
Authorities found that the bullets fired by Hankison traveled into the neighboring apartment while three people were home – a man, a pregnant woman, and a child, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on Wednesday.
Hankison faces up to five years in jail and a $15,000 fine if convicted, the AG said.
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