'We won’t stay silent': Lewis Hamilton on Breonna Taylor's death

15 September 2020 - 10:20 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Lewis Hamilton could face investigation for wearing a T-shirt with a political statement but says "we won’t stay silent".
Lewis Hamilton could face investigation for wearing a T-shirt with a political statement but says "we won’t stay silent".
Image: Twitter/Lewis Hamilton

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has responded to criticism over wearing a T-shirt commemorating Breonna Taylor six months after her death at the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, Italy.

Hamilton, who won the title over the weekend, wore a T-shirt that had “arrest the cops who killed Breona Taylor” written on the front and “say her name” above a photo of Taylor on the back.

He wore the shirt before the race and at the podium ceremony.

26-year-old Taylor was shot and killed by police officers at her Louisville home on March 13.

According to reports, police who were granted a “no-knock” warrant stormed into her apartment during an investigation of 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.

No criminal charges have been filed against any of the three officers. One officer was fired in June, while the two officers remain on the force.

TimesLIVE reported that Hamilton could face investigation by the motorsport governing body International Automobile Federation (FIA) for wearing the T-shirt. The FIA does not allow political statements to be made at its events.

An FIA spokesperson said an investigation was “under active consideration”. 

Taking to social media, Hamilton shared photos of himself wearing the T-shirt calling for the officers’ arrest.

As the only black Formula One champion, Hamilton has been vocal about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for a change in the sport.

Earlier this year, he slammed past Formula One champions Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart for their comments on his antiracism stance and push for greater diversity.

Many around the world, including international actress Lupita Nyong'o have called for justice for Taylor.

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka recently wore a face mask with Taylor’s name at the US Open.

She also wore six other different face masks during her seven matches to commemorate black lives lost to violence. Each mask had the name of a black person lost to violence.

When asked what the message behind wearing the masks was, Osaka said, “Well, what was the message you got is more the question. I feel like the point was to make people start talking.”