Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Breonna Taylor’s Legally-Allowed Killing Is The Result Of A Racist System

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Image credit: Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson says our criminal justice system is in need of complete reform.

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Yesterday, Kentucky officials announced charges for an officer related to the raid where police killed Kentucky woman Breonna Taylor. The charge is not directly related to her killing. Host Stephen Henderson delivered the following monologue this morning on Detroit Today. 

The system is working.

The system is working the way it was founded to work. The system is working the way it was intended to work.

This country was founded on the idea of inequality. Equality in name, equality in word — but inequality in deed. And the story of this nation since its founding, has been the struggle to send it in a different direction, to re-found America, on the principles of equality and fairness.

Click play to listen to Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson on the police killing of Breonna Taylor.


And so when we see police officers doing what they did in Louisville, in Minneapolis, in Kenosha, Wis., the reaction, I think, often is to be outraged at the system — and to say, this is a system that’s supposed to be fair.

This is a system that’s not supposed to act this way.”

But it is. It’s a system that is flawed, to its core.

The system we have in this country, the nation that we have built here, does not deserve to survive if it won’t reform.” — Stephen Henderson, host

And the only way to change that is to reform the system itself, to reform all of the ideas, all of the institutions that make up this country.

That’s the task to which all of these incidents are calling us. That is the work that lies ahead of us. This is not about changing the subject. This is not about changing the way we think about these things. This is not about changing the people who are in charge of all of these things.

This is about changing the system itself, at its root.

Reform or perish

I was a guest earlier this week on WBUR’s On Point, the national public affairs show that runs right after Detroit Today here on WDET.

And we were talking about this idea of reforming the system. I said something that’s really appropriate right now, I think. I said the system will either reform or it doesn’t deserve to survive.

I’m absolutely at that point.

What we do at the ballot box will matter. But even if we can’t achieve the reforms we want that way — there are other ways.”

The system we have in this country, the nation that we have built here, does not deserve to survive if it won’t reform.

And that is what you are seeing on the streets of Louisville today. People saying “to hell with it.” If the system can’t respond in a way that respects the rights of the majority of people, and protects minority interests, then it’s got to go.

I think that’s something that all of us should be thinking about as we wind down the campaigns for this year and then go to the ballot box in November. That’s terribly important. What we do at the ballot box will matter. But even if we can’t achieve the reforms we want that way — there are other ways.

And that’s what we’re seeing people resort to.

It’s something to keep in mind as we go forward. It’s something to keep in mind as we vote.

I believe it’s something that will frame all of the next several years in this country.

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Stephen Henderson, Host, Detroit Today

Stephen Henderson is host of Detroit Today and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He is Executive Editor of BridgeDetroit and host of American Black Journal on Detroit Public Television.

Follow @SHDetroit

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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