Lakers' Danny Green says of Breonna Taylor decision: 'We feel like we've taken a step back'




 

As the Lakers began to prepare Wednesday for Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James texted his teammates in a group chat that an announcement was coming shortly from a Kentucky grand jury regarding Louisville police officers that were involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Danny Green said it was "disappointing" to hear charges had not been filed against the police who killed Taylor during a drug raid of her home and that prosecutors said that two officers who fired their weapons at the Black woman were justified in using force to protect themselves.

Green said the response he saw from his teammates was that "nobody was really happy" to hear that only officer Brett Hankison, who has been fired, was charged by the grand jury with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into the home of Taylor's neighbors during the raid that took place on March 13. Each wanton endangerment charge carries a sentence of up to five years.

"It was disappointing," Green said on a video call with reporters. "I guess in a sense something was done, but it wasn't enough. Most guys thought it was definitely not enough. We're still - it's a tough one. It's a tough one. But we're still trying to make the proper steps, trying to…"

Green, who will play Thursday in the series the Lakers lead 2-1 despite being listed as probable with a left ring-finger injury, said the Lakers still needed time to process things and decide what steps they should take next.



"We need more time as a group, not just our team but everyone in the bubble and outside the bubble to figure out how we can continue to get progress in these certain aspects, in these certain categories, in certain communities, because with what happened today wasn't enough," Green said. "We felt - and I'm sure most people around the country felt the same - no matter, like I said, if I was in the same predicament or our communities. So yeah, prayers out to her family. We're still thinking of them, we're still seeking justice for them as well as many others, and hopefully this is a step … It's a step, but we need a lot more progress made than what has been today."

Teammate Alex Caruso had a similar reaction.

"You know, obviously the results of what happened is not significant enough, not harsh enough in the eyes of people that are fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, and I'm not sure legally what the process is next," said Caruso, who will play despite being listed as probable with a sore wrist. "I'll have to do some more research and find some more information out, but hopefully there are more steps to be able to gain better justice for her."

When on Aug. 26, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Orlando Magic after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wis., that started a chain reaction in which the NBA postponed playoff games for three days.

There were 16 teams in the bubble then on the Wide World of Sports Complex near here, and all of them got together, along with coaches, to discuss social injustices issues.

With just four teams left, Green said, "I could," when asked if the Lakers, Nuggets, Celtics and Heat could have a group meeting. He also said they could reach out to other teams that are at home.

"So if we were to have another meeting like that, it would be a lot smaller group, but still could be very effective as long as the message gets relayed and passed down to everyone outside of the bubble," Green said. "We want to continue to have those guys, even though they're not here and on this platform, they still have their own platforms, own brands and in their communities and cities can use their voice to be heard. So, we want to continue to pass that message along to everyone outside to spread the word and hopefully get some better progress."

Green said he thinks the NBA players who made it their mission to keep the conversation alive about police brutality and social equality for Black, brown and people of color are having their voices "heard," but that "we're very far away from after seeing today's verdict."

"We feel like we've taken a step back, that we haven't made the progress we were seeking," he said. "Our voices aren't being heard loud enough. But we're not going to stop. We're going to continue. We're going to continue fighting, we're going to continue to push, we're going to continue to use our voices.

"But yeah, after today's verdict, seems like every time we turn around and look at the news, it's always something disheartening or disappointing, and that's from all standpoints of what's going on in our country. We're not happy about it, but can't give up hope, can't quit, got to keep fighting and try to make things better, not just for us but for our future children, future grandkids. We want it to be a better place here for them to live."


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