Breonna Taylor supporters will soon know the fate of the officers who fatally shot her multiple times in her home. The world is waiting to hear if the names of the officers responsible for Taylor’s death will be called to justice.
It is unclear when Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron will release his decision on whether or not to bring charges against the officers — but it is anticipated to be announced soon.
The city is taking immediate action to prevent civil unrest. Access to Louisville’s downtown area and major throughways was restricted on Tuesday, Sept. 22. There is no restriction on foot traffic.
Louisville’s Mayor, Greg Fischer, will allow protestors to exercise their First Amendment Rights. However, he has initiated a state of emergency order to maintain the order in Louisville and protect its citizens.
The city has been lambasted for its slow investigation into the details surrounding Taylor’s death. Not only is Louisville waiting to hear the outcome of the investigation — the whole world is watching, intently. Based upon the reactions to recent killings and seemingly unjustified shootings by police of Black people, other cities may also need to have measures in place to prevent upheaval.
Details Leading Up to The Shooting
The fatal shooting happened on March 13. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed. Walker alleges they heard aggressively loud banging at the door. He said he feared for his life after he called for the culprits to identify themselves and they did not.
Walker mentioned that he thought it could have possibly been Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, who the police were actually looking for, trying to gain unlawful entrance into the apartment.
After Louisville police used a battering ram to break the door off the hinges, Walker fired his registered gun shooting one of the officers in the leg. This sparked a barrage of return gunfire from the police. Taylor was shot five times.
The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) was initially issued a “no-knock” warrant but right before the execution of the raid it was altered to “knock and announce.” LMPD disputes Walker’s claim that they did not identify themselves prior to breaking down the door.
Walker, 27 years old, called 911 and reported, “Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
Walker recalls Taylor having difficulty breathing and coughing after she was shot. According to dispatch logs, it was more than 20 minutes before Taylor received any medical attention.
One of the detectives at the scene recklessly fired 10 shots into the apartment and was subsequently fired.
Walker was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. The officer is expected to make a full recovery. Walker’s charges were dismissed in May.
#SayHerName Gains National Attention
Taylor was a 26-year-old emergency room technician. Her unfortunate story garnered national attention on her birthday, June 5. Kimberlé Crenshaw created the hashtag #SayHerName in order to bring awareness to all Black women who have unjustly fallen victim at the hands of law enforcement. In an interview with ABC, activist Crenshaw said:
If Black lives really do matter, all Black lives have to matter. That means Black lives across gender have to be lifted up.
Oprah Winfrey featured Taylor on the cover of O Magazine on July 30. In the last 20 years, Winfrey has been the only person to ever grace the magazine’s cover.
Other notables who have brought awareness to Taylor’s case is Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and then-Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California. Harris is now the first African American woman to run for Vice President of the United States. Both took to Twitter to express their concerns calling Taylor’s death “tragic” and “horrific.”
Other celebrities have worn paraphernalia bearing the hashtag to keep Taylor’s case relevant and in the media.
Cop Who Fired Gun Feels His Actions Were Moral
Jonathan Mattingly is one of the three officers whos fate is yet to be determined. They all fired their guns on the night Taylor’s life was taken. Mattingly sent an email to his colleagues that read in part, “Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and the criminals are canonized.”
There were no drugs found in Taylor’s apartment and “no-knock” warrants were banned about three months after this incident occurred.
LMPD does not have body camera footage of the raid. The mayor recently announced a new mandate that body cameras are worn during the execution of a search warrant.
The World Will Have To Wait and See
The family was awarded $12 million, in September to settle the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother. The settlement includes police reforms that should prevent others from being killed by LMPD.
Palmer has been pushing for criminal charges against the officers who killed her daughter since March. She said:
At this point it’s bigger than Breonna, it’s bigger than just Black Lives. We’ve got to figure out how to fix the city, how to heal from here.
Louisville has canceled major events in anticipation of the attorney general’s decision. A “Celebration of Life” event honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was postponed. Schools are on notice. Some schools closed Tuesday, Sept. 22, and will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 23, while others are implementing remote learning. They intend to play it by ear for the rest of the week.
Presumably, in a matter of days, Taylor supporters will soon know the fate of the officers that prematurely took her life. The world is watching and this contentious issue could get out of hand if people do not agree with the state’s decision.
Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Louisville Courier-Journal: LIVE UPDATES: Breonna Taylor protesters march downtown despite barricaded roads; Lucas Aulbach
The New York Times: Here’s What You Need to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death; Richard A. Oppel Jr., Derrick Bryson Taylor and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs
Chicago Loop Alliance: Loop Advisories
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