Charles Barkley is about as outspoken as a guy can get.
The former NBA great and current commentator reacted to the Breonna Taylor indictment during a broadcast before an NBA playoff game on Thursday — and he didn’t mince words.
“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.”
Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis and Arbery was fatally shot while jogging in Georgia.
Barkley also said defunding the police is “crap.”
“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,” Barkley said.
A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer on three counts of “wanton endangerment in the first degree” in the death of Taylor, a black woman who was killed during a raid on her home in March.
Sgt. Brett Hankison escaped more serious felony charges related to homicide from the grand jury. Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison. His bail was set at $15,000.
No other police officers involved in the raid were criminally charged. Ofc. Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly were on the scene during the shooting, and Mattingly was shot in the leg and underwent surgery after the police operation.
Ben Crump, attorney for the family of Breonna Taylor, said on Twitter that the charge was “not fully what we wanted” but added “this brings us closer to justice” for Taylor.