Breonna Taylor matters: her death, the verdict, outrage and voices keeping her memory alive
Last Wednesday, a grand jury in Kentucky in the US charged only one of the three police officers who were involved in a raid that ended with Breonna Taylor shot dead in her home.
Here is what you need to know.
Taylor, 26, was shot dead by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky, home on March 13.
According to reports, police who were granted a “no knock” warrant stormed into her apartment during an investigation into a suspected drug syndicate. The New York Times reported that Taylor was with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, on the night of the incident. Walker fired a gun into the ground during a heated exchange with police, who retaliated by firing multiple shots, some of which hit Taylor.
After Taylor's death, no criminal charges were filed against any of the three officers. One officer was fired in June, while two remain on the force.
According to a BBC report, last Wednesday the jury charged a second officer with three counts of “wanton endangerment” for firing into an adjacent apartment and putting Taylor's neighbours at risk.
The fired officer and the third officer were not charged, despite one of them firing the fatal shot.
USA Today reported that hours after the grand jury brought no charges against the police officers for Taylor’s death, protesters took to the streets.
According to the report, two officers were shot and wounded during the protest as many expressed anger over the killings of black people at the hands of police.
A lawyer for Taylor's family, attorney Ben Crump, called the court proceedings a “sham”.
“The indictment was insulting and offensive to Breonna Taylor's life, legacy and family. The grand jury proceedings were a sham,” he wrote on Twitter. “The 'wanton endangerment' charge is an example of America's two justice systems — protecting white neighbours and ignoring the death of a black woman.”
The indictment was insulting & offensive to Breonna Taylor's life, legacy, & family. The grand jury proceedings were a SHAM. The "wanton endangerment" charge is an example of America's 2 justice systems – protecting white neighbors & ignoring the death of a Black woman. https://t.co/PAiLxmjOcA— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 24, 2020
Voices lifting Taylor's memory
Many around the world, including music producer Pharrell Williams, have called for justice for Taylor under the hashtag #BreonnaTaylorMatters.
Here is what many had to say.
“The most disrespected person in America is The Black Woman. The most unprotected person in America is The Black Woman. The most neglected person in America is The Black Woman.” — Malcolm X— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) September 24, 2020
Devastated. You deserved so much more. #BreonnaTaylorMatters pic.twitter.com/rLxXQf3VgS
NO ONE is coming to save you. Understand? Not your white friends. Not your white neighbors. Not your white allies. NO ONE.— DB Woodside (@dbwofficial) September 24, 2020
It is up to us... to save US. #BreonnaTaylorMatters 💔
Now get your black ass off the floor & stop weeping.
Get angry. Organize. Vote. Vote EARLY! VOTE!
This verdict is just so unfair and pathetic - but wildly predictable. I hope Breonna Taylor’s family can feel how angry and devastated we all are on their behalf. They deserved so much better than this. #BreonnaTaylorMatters pic.twitter.com/Tg7ZNbi8Rh— Meaghan Oppenheimer (@MoppyOpps) September 23, 2020