Breonna Taylor most likely never dreamt that she’d become a household name, but here we are. In the darkness of March 13, 2020, three plainclothes Louisville Metro Police officers forced their way into the home of Taylor, an emergency room technician and former EMT. They were there on a “no-knock” warrant, searching for a man who was already in custody. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, let off a warning shot from his own legally-possessed firearm. The plainclothes police fired off 32 shots in response, and six hit Taylor. The 26-year-old died in her apartment; not one of the police officers attempted to provide medical assistance. Taylor was Black; predictably, the Louisville officers were white.
The horror story is still not resolved, though Louisville did settle with Taylor’s family in September, and Walker finally got all charges permanently dropped less than a week before this heartbreaking anniversary. No police officers—including Myles Cosgrove, who fired the fatal shot—faced any charges for her death. Grand jurors blame Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who served as special prosecutor, for “terribly misus(ing)” them as he sought that outcome, and (unsuccessfully) attempted to impeach and remove him from office.
A year after Breonna Taylor’s death, there remain more questions than answers as the world comes together to say her name.
Say her name. Remember her face.
Remember: It’s not just what “was” that was taken away. Taylor never got to find out “what could be.”
That her killers walk free while Taylor died for committing no crime is no accident. It’s just the system working.
Louisville Police may have turned Taylor into a statistic, but she was a person.
Women of color—particularly Black women—rarely attract much attention when they’re victims of police brutality. Taylor’s mom, Tamika Palmer, is thankful she, with the help of attorney Ben Crump, was able to garner wide concern for Taylor’s killing even as she continues to seek justice and police accountability. “I couldn’t imagine something like this happening to her and that nobody was paying attention,” Palmer told The 19th.
The #SayHerName movement didn’t start with Taylor, and it does not end with her.
No justice. No peace.
This powerful video from LeBron James’ More than a Vote shows how Breonna Taylor’s death changed us.
Say. Her. Name.
Again: The battle for police reform is far from over.
Missouri Rep. Cori Bush says it better than I could.
Please feel free to share tributes to Breonna yourself, both on social media and in the comments.