Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are being blasted for saying that people are wrongfully comparing Breonna Taylor‘s case with those of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. The retired hoop stars spoke about Taylor on Thursday, Sept. 24, on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” before the Los Angeles Lakers played the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
Their comments came one day after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a Jefferson County grand jury wouldn’t charge three officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department for Taylor’s death. The only charges were for former Detective Brett Hankison, who was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for shooting into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors.
“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” said Barkley. “I feel sad that this young lady lost her life. … The no-knock warrant is something we need to get rid of across the board. But I am worried to lump all these situations in together.”
He continued. “And I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop. So like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”
O’Neal then gave his take, which was similar to Barkley’s.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” he stated. “You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
O’Neal has long talked about admiring police officers and was named an honorary deputy for Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s Office last year.
Taylor, a 26-year old EMT worker, was shot and killed by officers on March 13 of this year after they barged into her apartment to execute a search warrant in a drug case.
Arbery was shot and killed by a white father and son in Glynn County, Georgia, in February, while Floyd died after an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department drove a knee into the handcuffed and prone man’s neck for almost nine minutes.
The backlash O’Neal and Barkley received for their comments was swift and plentiful.
“I didn’t know I could be this disgusted by Charles Barkley,” someone tweeted.
“I know Charles Barkley did NOT just say on national television — ‘I’m sad Breonna Taylor lost her life, but we can’t forget her boyfriend did fire at a cop first.’ Please tell me I heard that wrong,” wrote someone else.
“I watch Inside the NBA specifically to hear well-informed takes about cops from Charles Barkley (Republican), Ernie Johnson (2016 John Kasich voter), and Shaq (literally a cop),” a third person tweeted.
O’Neil and Barkley were referring to Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who was in bed with her when police began breaking down the door to her apartment.
Believing the officers were criminal intruders, Walker and Taylor made their way to hallway of the apartment, and he fired a shot as the door to the apartment was breached hitting one cop in the leg. The officers returned fire and struck Taylor at least five times, killing her. Walker was then charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but those charges were dropped in May.
While speaking about Taylor on TNT, Barkley also disagreed with some people’s call to defund the police.
“Who are Black people supposed to call Ghost Busters when we have crime in our neighborhood? We need to stop the defund or abolish the police crap,” said Barkley.
“Ugh, Charles Barkley,” one person tweeted.