Breonna Taylor matters: her death, the verdict, outrage and voices keeping her memory alive

28 September 2020 - 05:30
A demonstrator during a protest in the Brooklyn borough of New York City after last week's announcement of a single indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.
A demonstrator during a protest in the Brooklyn borough of New York City after last week's announcement of a single indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.
Image: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

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's death

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.

Verdict 

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.

Outraged

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.”

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.


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