Hundreds rallied in downtown Louisville, Kentucky and marched through the streets on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was gunned down in her own home by city police officers — none of whom have been charged for her death.
“This is not a celebration. This is the anniversary of something that should not have happened,” one speaker said at a Louisville event, where Taylor’s family, racial justice activists, and ordinary members of the community gathered to mourn the loss of Breonna and demand action from lawmakers and police departments beyond the small-scale reforms that followed the March 2020 killing.
While Louisville in June banned no-knock raids of the kind that led to Taylor’s death, local activists say far more needs to be done to hold the officers responsible for Taylor’s death accountable, rein in law enforcement abuses, and remedy longstanding racial injustices. But the Kentucky state legislature, controlled by Republicans, is currently more focused on passing legislation to criminalize insulting police officers.
“This is about justice. This is about our power to change this world for our children, for my daughter,” Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League, told a crowd of demonstrators on Saturday. “This is so we make sure that not another person dies at the hands of the police.”
“Say her name … Breonna Taylor” as hundreds begin to march in #Louisville. pic.twitter.com/7RyLDM4tFr
— Hayes Gardner (@HayesGardner) March 13, 2021
Hundreds march in Louisville to remember Breonna Taylor one year after she was killed in a police raid. Time lapse taken on Seventh Street. pic.twitter.com/BRXtdwDaPe
— Jen Keeney (@jenkeeney) March 13, 2021
No Justice No Peace choir singing “What’s her name … Breonna Taylor” pic.twitter.com/Hyh5jYqivs
— Hayes Gardner (@HayesGardner) March 13, 2021
Kentucky state Democratic Rep. Attica Scott, the lead sponsor of legislation that would ban no-knock raids statewide, told NPR ahead of Saturday’s events that in the 365 days since Taylor’s killing, “justice has not been served.”
“Folks on the front lines are very clear that they are continuing to call for all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder to be fired, arrested, and charged for her murder,” said Scott. “They have not wavered from those demands.”
Two officers connected to the raid on Taylor’s home — including the detective who investigators found fired the shot that killed Taylor — were terminated earlier this year. Brett Hankison, another officer involved in the raid, was fired last June and later charged with three counts of “wanton endangerment” for shooting into an apartment unit near Taylor’s.
Hundreds of protesters, meanwhile, have been arrested at demonstrations demanding justice for Taylor and accountability for the officers who killed her.
“I can’t believe it’s a year later and we’re still just asking people to do the right thing,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in an interview earlier this week. “Not to say all officers are bad, but there’s no accountability.”
Lawmakers at the national level also marked the anniversary of Taylor’s killing on social media.
“Today marks 365 days of injustice. Breonna Taylor’s murder was an injustice. The ensuing cover-up was an injustice. [Kentucky Attorney General] Daniel Cameron’s mockery of a grand jury hearing was an injustice,” tweeted Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.). “The absence of charges for the officers who gunned down Breonna was an injustice. The treatment of protesters in Louisville and across the country was an injustice.”
“That people no longer say Breonna Taylor’s name as often as they should is an injustice,” Bush continued. “A Black woman was murdered by the police in her home, in the middle of the night, and nothing has fundamentally changed. That’s why we won’t stop saying her name. That’s why we have to legislate in defense of Black lives in Congress.”
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