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The single most important thing people need to know about how COVID-19 has affected the economy is that federal aid really kept the wheels from falling off completely. Personal stimulus checks or unemployment allowed people to continue spending and keep some businesses afloat. Direct aid to state and local governments kept really harmful budget cuts at bay.

But if those expire, as they are set to on Dec. 31, we’re in for a world of hurt. For me, the most surprising thing is what appears to be a lack of urgency in getting relief to people and local governments who really need it.

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AE: The police are not commenting on or releasing many documents/materials that are part of their internal investigation into the incident. Plus, there’s no body camera footage from the officers who shot at Breonna Taylor, because that wasn’t the policy for their unit at the time. That’s changed. Therefore, much of the documentation or narratives has mostly been released through media, other departments/agencies or attorneys for Breonna Taylor’s Family, or the attorney for her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. (Background: Walker fired his gun once when police forced entry to Taylor’s apartment after midnight on March 13, 2020. He told police investigators after the shooting that he did not know who was entering, and intended it to be a warning shot to scare who he thought were intruders away. The gunshot struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the femoral artery, an injury for which he later underwent surgery.) Here are some of the things we have gotten: tape of the 911 call placed by Walker after the shooting, a nearly blank incident report from the night of the shooting, and letters related to the firing of Officer Brett Hankison (he’s currently appealing that decision), and audio of interviews with Walker and Mattingly released by Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine and, more recently, NBC News. While these documents and arguments tell some of the story, we need the entire internal investigation and related documents to get closer to constructing a full narrative—and to give us more leads to chase. One key document that’s being held is Taylor’s autopsy.

Here are some related links:






As for union contracts, our colleague Jacob Ryan took a good look at the status of the police union contract, which is currently under negotiation: https://wfpl.org/with-police-union-contract-under-negotiation-fischer-could-push-for-changes/

WFPLNews229 karma

You’ve hit the million dollar question. I don’t think anyone really knows at this point, which is truly distressing considering the estimates that say 13 million people could lose benefits in 2021. The House passed the HEROES Act that extended federal unemployment into 2021, but the Senate didn’t take that up. Senator McConnell has said the senate will take up an aid package during the next session, but hasn’t given too many details. It’s a big question mark that’s causing a lot of anxiety for people, wish I could give you a better answer!

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Some people were furloughed right in the beginning of the pandemic and then came back to work once guidelines were available to keep them safe or restrictions were lifted. But for the most part, finding a job is a struggle.

Technically, Kentucky’s unemployment rate has definitely decreased from April’s high of about 15 percent. We’re at about 5.7 percent now, which could suggest people are finding jobs and we’re starting to recover. But the real unemployment rate, including people who left the workforce altogether, is actually around 12 percent and nationwide there are way more people looking for work than there are job openings.

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AE: This is a good question and I’m glad you asked it. It’s a complicated situation. And I’m going to respond specifically to your point about returning fire.

Here’s something we know: Police say they announced themselves. Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who was in the apartment with her that night, said they heard knocking/banging but did not hear a verbal response. In his interview with police after the shooting, he said, “It's a loud boom at the door, first thing she says, ‘Who is it?’ No response. So we’re like, What the heck? We both get up, start putting on clothes, another knock at the door. She's like, ‘Who is it?’ Loud, at the top of her lungs. No response.” Because the police haven’t released any footage, it’s one party’s word against the other’s.

And Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, who released tape of the interview above when he announced he was dropping charges against Walker, said at the time: “It's very possible that there is no criminal activity on either side of that door because people couldn't hear what the other party was saying.”


When it comes to whether they did anything wrong by returning fire, that gets complicated, too, when you take into account how that played out. For example, Officer Brett Hankison was fired last month (he is appealing that decision) for his role in the shooting. In a letter announcing his intention to terminate Hankison, acting police chief Robert Schroeder wrote, “your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.” He went on to write that Hankison fired through a covered window “that completely prevented you from verifying any person as an immediate threat or more importantly any innocent persons present.” Schroeder also described that some of the rounds fired by Hankison went into an adjoining neighbor’s apartment. That neighbor is suing Hankison and the other officers for assault, excessive force and negligence.


In addition to those details, the reason authorities are investigating this incident is that there are questions about the validity of the search warrants and the inclusion of Taylor’s name and address in those warrants (since the narcotics investigation was focused on her ex, and nothing illegal was found in her home). That’s why this case is about more than whether it was OK for police to shoot back.