One Year Later: Breonna Taylor’s Loved Ones Continue Their Fight For Justice
“Please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor,” said Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer.
March 13 marks one year since the death of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old unarmed Black woman who was shot multiple times when police officers serving a “no-knock” search warrant forced their way into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I can’t believe it’s a year later and we’re still just asking people to do the right thing,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said of authorities potentially charging the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the incident.
“They’ve shown failure from the beginning,” Palmer told WLKY. “Not to say all officers are bad, but there's no accountability. So, they don't feel like they have to change their actions or their behaviors.”
The 2020 raid, allegedly connected to a narcotics investigation that targeted a suspect who police already had located at a house 10 miles away, took place just before 1 a.m. while Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed.
Officers claimed they announced their presence, but Walker said he and Taylor didn’t know who was at the door of the apartment. Believing intruders were breaking in, Walker, a licensed gun owner, fired what he later said was a warning shot, hitting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh.
Mattingly and detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove returned fire, shooting 32 times. Taylor was hit with at least five bullets and died in the hallway of her home.
Cosgrove and Hankison have since been dismissed from their jobs at the Louisville Police Department while Mattingly remains on the force, according to the Associated Press.
Joshua Jaynes, a detective who originally sought the warrant and allegedly acknowledged it contained false information but claimed it was an “honest mistake,” was also recently let go from the force, the AP reported.
None of the officers have been charged for Taylor’s death.
On March 8, a Jefferson Circuit judge dismissed with prejudice the assault and attempted murder of a police officer charges against Walker, 28. As a result, he cannot be recharged for the shooting.
“We believe the city used Kenneth as a pawn to cover up the events that took place on March 13, 2020, and further used him to cover up the deep-seated failures within the Louisville Metro Police Department,” Walker’s attorney Steve Romines said in a statement obtained by The Courier-Journal. “It does not go unnoticed that neither the city nor the LMPD has apologized for using Kenneth as a scapegoat for an improper raid gone bad.”
After charges against him were dismissed, Walker posted a message on Instagram, writing, “I’m blessed for sure, but there’s a lot more to be done we gonna get justice for Breonna Taylor.”
In the year since Taylor’s killing, The Courier-Journal reported, the city of Louisville has enacted multiple changes, including putting the beleaguered Louisville Police Department through an external “top-to-bottom” review, creating a civilian board tasked with investigating complaints against the city’s police officers, and reforming the search warrant process.
In September, Louisville also agreed to a $12 million settlement for Taylor’s family, bringing to a close a civil lawsuit Palmer filed following her daughter’s death.
At the time, Palmer said it was “only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna.”
A federal investigation into the shooting continues.
Recalling her daughter’s “beautiful spirit and personality,” Palmer once asked supporters to remember the woman who has become a powerful symbol in the fight against racial injustice. “Please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”
Now, she told WLKY, “I think about how I said I always knew she'd be great, but you hate it. You hate it has to be her face. But then I think, who could've done it better?”
Read more: Crimefeed