Politics

Here’s Why People Are Seeking Justice For Breonna Taylor, Another Victim Of Police Brutality

Breonna Taylor was shot eight times in her own home by police in the USA, and her killers still roam free.

breonna taylor

Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent global protests, a number of changes for good have already happened.

We’ve not only seen the arrest and charging of all four police officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, but these conversations around systematic racism and police brutality have brought about justice in different ways too.

In the two weeks since Floyd’s death, a number of cities — including Minneapolis, the place where George Floyd’s murder took place — have banned carotid restraint, otherwise known as chokeholds. Beyond the police, even Nascar has made the decision to ban the confederate flag from their events in response to growing criticism about symbols of white supremacy being allowed in an supposedly inclusive sport.

As these protests prove to be bringing about real change, people have redirected their focus to campaign for another victim of police brutality who never got justice: Breonna Taylor.

Who Is Breonna Taylor?

Just a few months prior to George Floyd’s death, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot dead as she and her boyfriend slept in their Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 13, 2020.

Breonna was a black emergency medical technician, who was shot eight times when three Lousiville Metro Police Department officers entered her home — using a battering ram to force open the door at around 1am — with a no-knock search warrant.

In response to the plainclothes officers entering the house without warning, Breonna’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker — who was licensed to carry — fired one non-lethal warning shot at what he thought were intruders entering his home. This bullet ended up landing in one of the officer’s legs, and Kenneth was charged for the “attack”.

Allegedly searching for two male suspects, who were already in police custody at a different location, officers fired over 20 shots in response towards the couples bed, ultimately killing Breonna.

The officers were issued a warrant to search Breonna’s home because suspected drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover, one of the people already in custody for the crimes, had been in a relationship with her at one stage. Due to this, police believed that Breonna’s apartment was receiving the drugs, but zero were found in her apartment after they conducted the search.

Why Are People Demanding Justice?

There are a number of issues with Breonna Taylor’s case. The simple fact that the innocent EMT is now dead and no officers have been charged for her murder is the biggest — which is made especially worse when you learn that Kenneth Walker was charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer for defending himself in his own home. Thankfully the charge was dismissed late last month, likely due to growing public criticism.

Kenneth Walker holds that he fired in self-defence as he feared for his life and thought the unidentified men in his house, in the early hours of the morning, were robbers. But the LMPD claim that the officers “knocked on the door several times” and identified themselves as police upon entering.

As the officers did not wear body cameras, this claim cannot be proved. However, Breonna’s neighbours confirm that they did not hear the officers knock or identify themselves when bursting into the apartment.

Moreover, despite Breonna literally being shot eight times and dying, the police incident report from the night notes Breonna’s injuries as “none” and ticks the “no” box under the forced entry section.

Despite the unnecessary use of firearms in the case, the three officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, and Brett Hankison — are all still part of the police force. None of the officers have been charged and while there is an internal investigation taking place, they have all only been placed on administrative leave meaning they’re all still getting paid.

What’s Already Been Done And How To Get Justice

Amidst the current global conversations around police violence and brutality, people are desperately seeking justice for Breonna Taylor.

Two months after Breonna’s death, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three officers on the grounds of battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence. To help the Taylor family, Benjamin Crump — the civil rights attorney who is also representing George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery’s families — has taken on the case.

Then, on May 21, a few weeks after news of the lawsuit went public, the FBI announced that they were opening an investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death.

On Friday, in direct response to the uproar caused by George Floyd’s death and people focusing in on police violence, Louisville passed Breonna’s law — a law that bans no-knock warrants and requires body cameras to be worn before, during and after searches.

But this is only the start for people demanding justice for the innocent woman slain in her bed as she slept in her home. People want all three police officers involved in her murder to be arrested and are now using protests and online petitions to try to achieve this. Earlier today, even Beyoncé penned an open letter to the Kentucky attorney general demanding for justice for Breonna Taylor.

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