George Clooney ‘ashamed’ by Kentucky grand jury’s Breonna Taylor decision
The Kentucky-born star also took aim at remarks by the state’s Attorney General about “celebrities, influencers and activists”
Kentucky-born George Clooney was among the celebrities sharing their anger after only one police officer was charged in connection with the death of a black woman in the state.
Her death had become a rallying cry for activists – including high-profile celebrities – demanding charges against the officers involved.
There was dismay on Wednesday when Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron announced a grand jury had indicted an officer, Brett Hankison, for shooting into neighbouring apartments, but did not move forward with charges against any officers for their role in Ms Taylor’s death.
In a statement obtained by the PA news agency, Hollywood star Clooney responded to Mr Cameron’s dismissal of “celebrities, influencers and activists” from outside the state.
“I was born and raised in Kentucky,” Clooney said. “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.
“The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions. Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by three 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. I’m ashamed of this decision.”
Other celebrities also voiced their frustrations over the case, with Emmy winner Regina King sharing a statement on Twitter.
“As I try to process my emotions in the wake of what amounts to a lack of respect for Breonna Taylor’s life, I can’t help but think about how important it is to get politically involved, to be a registered voter and vote,” she said.
“In Kentucky and 43 other states, voters elect the Attorney General & registered voters serve on grand juries. We can change the decision makers, but we must vote.”
Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis said it is a “Bulls— decision!!!” and added: “Black Lives Matter!!! Cannot be said enough times.”
Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay tweeted: “God bless Breonna’s family and all who knew and loved her. Her tragic death compounded by the violence of silence and inaction by the city she called home is more than any of them should have to endure.”
Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright called for a law change, while Saturday Night Live star Chris Redd expressed disbelief at an officer being charged for “wanton endangerment”, adding: “Make it make sense!”
Actress Kerry Washington urged people to vote.
As anger mounted following the announcement of the charge, police confronted protesters in downtown Louisville and two officers were shot.
A citywide curfew went into effect from 9pm local time.
With reporting by Press Association