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Breonna Taylor update: Bears react to ‘crazy’ decision on charges against Louisville police

Bears running backs David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson delivered raw statements on what they saw as a total lack of justice for Taylor after her death at the hands of police officers.

David Montgomery, the Bears’ starting running back, has been vocal amid the team’s conversations about racial injustice.
David Montgomery, the Bears’ starting running back, has been vocal amid the team’s conversations about racial injustice.
For the Sun-Times

The ongoing unrest over racial injustice in the United States has been woven inextricably into the Bears’ season, and some players have kept it at the forefront at Halas Hall rather than using football as an escape.

As the Bears got ready for practice Thursday, running backs David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson reeled from the news of the dearth of charges brought in the shooting death of Black woman Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. She was killed when police stormed her apartment in March, and the only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment by one officer.

The ruling Wednesday reiterated to Montgomery and Patterson that it’s unsafe to be Black and that there’s no guarantee of fair legal treatment.

‘‘Being scared to be who I am just because of the color of my skin and . . . fearing if I was to get pulled over by a cop or if anything were to happen to me, I wouldn’t know if it’d be the last breath that I’d be taking,’’ Montgomery said. ‘‘It’s scary. We’ve just got to keep fighting and challenging those who need to be challenged so that we can get it fixed and changed.’’

The Bears have engaged in racial discussions throughout the last few years and established a player-led social-justice committee. Coach Matt Nagy shut down football meetings in May to have a team discussion about the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, and players boycotted a practice last month after police shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Many players have kneeled, raised a fist or remained in the locker room during the national anthem this season to protest inequality and police brutality.

Multiple players said they anticipated having a team meeting about the Taylor decision.

Taylor’s death was ruled a homicide, but none of the three officers who fired their guns was charged with killing her. John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove face no charges, and Brett Hankison’s three charges are the lowest-level felonies in Kentucky and carry a sentence of one to five years per charge.

The city of Louisville settled a wrongful-death suit by Taylor’s mother for $12 million two weeks ago.

The announcement Wednesday prompted protests in Louisville and throughout the country, including in Chicago. Two officers were shot during demonstrations in Louisville.

Patterson brought up the Taylor decision before the media asked a question, saying he thought the minor charges were ‘‘crazy’’ and difficult to explain to his children.

‘‘You never know how safe you are,’’ Patterson said. ‘‘We’re not untouchable — that’s what we have to understand. It happens to everybody in this world, no matter if you’re a pro athlete or not. It happens to everybody. Athletes, we’ve just gotta keep using our voice.

‘‘It’s a hurtful thing. It’s sad what her family had to go through. They gave them money, millions of dollars — that [stuff], it won’t bring her back. I don’t care anything about money; I just want my life and my family with me. I would never want to go through an experience like that.’’

As heavily as it weighed on Patterson, he said he still has hope.

‘‘I just have to keep educating my kids and keep preaching to them that it’s going to get better,’’ he said. ‘‘Because I do feel like it’s going to get better.

‘‘I just look to the people who are trying to help us. And the people who ain’t, just stay [far] away. Because 2020 has already been a terrible year for everybody — people losing their jobs, everything. There is so much going on on top of this police stuff. So we’re trying to do better in 2020, and hopefully 2021 brings us great love and peace.’’