'Here we go again': Black leaders in Philadelphia speak out following ruling in Breonna Taylor case

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many Black community leaders in Philadelphia are speaking out as protests erupted across the country following the grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor's death.

On Wednesday, officials announced that Louisville Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13 that claimed the life of Taylor.

A grand jury brought no charges for killing Taylor, who was shot multiple times by police who burst into her home during a drug raid gone wrong. While there were no drugs in Taylor's apartment, her boyfriend shot and wounded a police officer. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers' shots that killed Taylor were fired in self-defense.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'Here we go again.' It seems to me that Black lives do not matter to some people," Rev. Robert Collier said. "It's another case - if you're Black, it doesn't make a difference. We can kill you and there's no consequence for that."

Collier, the head of the black clergy, says it's times like this, during a pandemic and the state of Black mental health being declared critical, that pastors must speak up and remind people to dwell on faith.

READ MORE: Protesters march peacefully in Philadelphia after grand jury ruling in Breonna Taylor case
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Protesters gathered in Philadelphia and demonstrated peacefully on Wednesday night following the Kentucky grand jury ruling in the Breonna Taylor case.

"They need to know we're standing with them. We're standing with them in prayer whether they're in Minneapolis, Kentucky, Philly, New York wherever we are we can band together and support one another," Collier said.

And Rep. Joanna McClinton said given what Philadelphia has experienced recently with the police, the Breonna Taylor decision hits home.

"On 52nd street Black protestors and white protesters were pepper-sprayed mercilessly... we've experienced police brutality firsthand while simply exercising our First Amendment rights. We take it seriously in Philadelphia," McClinton said.

Kelley Hodge, the first black woman District Attorney in Philadelphia, said the true change is going to take a lot more than just policy.

"It's going to take effective implementation and accountability for the policies once they're put in place. If there's no effective implementation or accountability then we can produce all the policies we want and it won't make a difference," Hodge said.
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