During the first and only vice presidential debate Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris were asked if Breonna Taylor has received justice.
“I don’t believe so,” Harris answered first, adding that she’s spoken with Taylor’s mother and family.
“Her life was taken unjustifiably and tragically and violently,” she said.
When USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, who moderated the debate, posed the same question to Pence, he began by saying his heart breaks for an innocent life lost and gave his sympathies to Taylor’s family.
“But, I trust our justice system, a grand jury that reviews the evidence,” he continued, “and it really is remarkable as a former prosecutor, you would assume that an impaneled grand jury looking at all the evidence got it wrong.”
Related: Grand jury recordings reveal chilling scene of chaos and misinformation
A Jefferson County grand jury last month indicted one of the three officers who fired their weapons into the unarmed 26-year-old Black woman’s Louisville home earlier this year on three counts of wanton endangerment over shots that went into a neighboring unit.
No one is facing charges for killing Taylor. The grand jury hadn’t been presented with that possibility, with prosecutors deciding Kentucky’s liberal self-defense laws justified the officers’ actions because Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired at them first.
More: The Breonna Taylor investigation is public. Here’s what it says
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Harris was one of the first public figures to speak out about Taylor in May and called for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting.
She since has brought up Taylor’s case when speaking about justice reform, including a call to overhaul no-knock warrants.
One of the things Biden’s administration would do, Harris said at Wednesday’s debate, is require a national register for police officers who break the law.
“I’m a former career prosecutor,” Harris said. “I know what I’m talking about. Bad cops are bad for good cops. We need reform of our policing in America and our criminal justice system.”
Joe Biden in debate: ‘Cops aren’t happy to see what happened to Breonna Taylor’
USA TODAY reporter Joey Garrison contributed to this report.
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