Cobb teacher faces backlash for saying Breonna Taylor was to blame for her own death

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County parents and students said they’re waiting to see how the district will handle an incident involving a teacher who told students Breonna Taylor was to blame for her own death.

Susan McCoy has since apologized for several factually incorrect comments made about the case during class Friday. It happened following a loudspeaker tribute to Taylor by Pebblebrook High School principal, Dr. Dana Giles.

“Dr. G is on the announcements talking about….what’s her name? Breonna…something….the one that was killed in the gunfire by the cops,” McCoy begins.

“It was Black History Month,” said Cobb County school board member, Leroy ‘Tre’ Hutchins. “We were appreciating and honoring Breonna Taylor and her life. We were saying her name, and as a result of that this happened and I think it’s unfortunate.”

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A student uploaded the Zoom session recording to Instagram Friday, in which McCoy said she was sorry for Taylor’s death but said Taylor’s association with the criminal in her home led to her demise.

McCoy was conflating the suspect, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, with the man she was with the evening she was killed by police—her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Walker had no criminal record and was a licensed gun owner.

“She put herself in that position hanging out with someone she shouldn’t have been with,” McCoy told students.

“That’s her boyfriend…What you mean?” asks a student.

“Here’s the thing. She was with her boyfriend who was a criminal ,” McCoy says.

“That was her ex-boyfriend,” another student says. “They came to the wrong house.”

“The right guy was in custody, earlier that day,” the same student later adds in the roughly two minute exchange.

“Yeah. OK,” McCoy says. “Like I said, I’m sorry she’s dead but they actually have proof that he fired at them first.”

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In March 2020, Louisville police executed the no-knock warrant at Taylor’s home. In the warrant, they claimed the postal service confirmed the delivery of drugs to Taylor’s home and in Glover’s name. It’s a claim a postal inspector later denied.

Walker told 911 he believed intruders were breaking in, when the plains clothes officers executed the warrant that night. Walker opened fire, wounding one officer. Louisville police returned more than 25 rounds, fatally wounding Taylor.

It was later revealed that the suspect, Glover, was already in custody at the time of Taylor’s killing. A timeline of events can be found here.

The City of Louisville ended up paying Taylor’s family a $12 million settlement for the botched raid that included specific police reform items. One officer was terminated for his use of force.

A grand jury did not indict the officers involved on charges tied to Taylor’s killing, later saying District Attorney Daniel Cameron did not present them with the choice of those charges. One officer was indicted for ‘wanton endangerment,” due to bullets that pierced the walls of a neighboring apartment.

Taylor’s death became a centerpiece for Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

AN APOLOGY

“I never should have talked about something that I didn’t understand, and I truly, truly apologize and ask for forgiveness,” McCoy said during a recording later Friday, in which she described her comments as ignorant.

McCoy did not return messages left at her home, via phone or email on Sunday.

“So now everyone is getting educated again on what happened in that situation, and so I always have to find the silver lining and that is what this is for me,” said Hutchins, referencing the viral social media attention the incident has garnered.

In a letter to parents, Giles acknowledged the incident, assuring parents that the district is aware of their concern.

“I am confident this situation will be investigated, and any appropriate district policy will be applied,” Giles wrote in part of the letter.

“We will show empathy and support for each other, respectfully, as long as I’m the principal of Pebblebrook High School.”

The full letter can be read here on the school’s website.

Channel 2 reached out to Cobb County School late Friday afternoon and received a response about the incident on Monday from a district spokesperson.

“The district is aware of the allegations, is investigating, and will follow any relevant district policy. As a district, we expect every member of our staff to treat each other with respect and understanding.”

Hutchins said his focus is on supporting Giles and the students, who he said handled the conversation respectfully.

“The fact that they were able to be respectful, and still state fact--or as much fact as they knew-- and say that ‘what you’re saying is not quite accurate’ and challenge it in a way that was respectful made me proud,” Hutchins said.

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