Charles Barkley speaks out on Breonna Taylor indictment; slams defund the police message

Charles Barkley speaks out on Breonna Taylor indictment; slams defund the police message

NBA All-Star and Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley spoke out Thursday about the indictment of a police officer in the death of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Kentucky, woman who was shot and killed by police in her apartment.

Barkley said on the “NBA on TNT” broadcast that while Taylor’s death was tragic it cannot be put in the same category as those of George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery. Floyd was killed while in police custody on a Minneapolis street. Arbery was jogging in Georgia when he was fatally shot.

An officer involved in the March shooting, Louisville police Officer Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. Each count carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. Hankison is no longer a member of the Louisville police department.

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Two other officers involved in the incident that saw Taylor shot to death in her apartment were not charged in the shooting. No officer was directly charged in Taylor’s death. Taylor, 26, was shot six times by the officers who entered her home during a drug raid.

“It’s bad this young lady lost her life,” Barkley said of Taylor. “But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend did shoot at the cops and shot a cop. 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.”

Barkley went on to say he is against calls to defund police.

“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. 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 said.