One year after Breonna Taylor was shot to death her in apartment by Louisville police officers, protesters took to the streets to honor the 26-year-old, while others memorialized the somber occasion on social media.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, joined hundreds of supporters in Louisville Saturday who continued to call for the officers who killed Taylor to be charged in the case.
“No justice, no peace!,” they shouted as they gathered at the city’s Jefferson Square Park, carrying signs and posters bearing Taylor’s likeness, according to ABC News.
Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin, addressed the crowd from a stage flanked with large murals of Taylor, who worked as an EMT.
“Eyes are on Louisville, Kentucky, today so let’s show America what community looks like,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
Protests also sprang up in other areas of the county, including New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles, where some demonstrators clashed with police officers and vandalized businesses.
Los Angeles police officers donned riot gear and released tear gas into the crowd as tensions rose in Hollywood Sunday. The department said that 11 people were arrested during the protest. In Seattle, 13 arrests were made.
Palmer told CNN in an earlier interview that she believes there has been no justice for her daughter’s death and continues to advocate for the arrests and convictions of the police officers who burst into her daughter’s apartment on March 13, 2020 to serve a warrant at the home, before killing Taylor in a spray of gunfire.
Palmer said she still feels “anger” about “the way this whole thing happened, anger that it was so avoidable, and anger that she lost her life for it.”
Just days before the one-year mark of her daughter’s death, Palmer filed six new complaints against Louisville Metro Police officers alleging that proper police procedures had not been followed during the investigation that ultimately led police to her daughter’s door, according to The Louisville Courier Journal.
President Joe Biden also remembered the 26-year-old EMT in a statement on Twitter Saturday, calling her death “a tragedy” and “blow to her family” and her community.
“As we continue to mourn her, we must press ahead and pass meaningful police reform in Congress,” he said. “I remain committed to signing a landmark reform bill into law.”
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) also took to social media Saturday morning.
“Saying her name is about honor. Saying her name is about respect. Saying her name is about accountability. Saying her name is about equal protection. Saying her name is about demanding action. Saying her name is about justice,” she wrote. “Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor. Breonna Taylor.”
The rallies came just one day after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who had also been in the apartment, filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department. He has argued that police violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Louisville police officers burst through the couple’s front door in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020 to serve a warrant as part of a drug raid. Police have said they knocked and announced their presence before bursting through the door, but several witnesses have contradicted that claim.
Walker, who has said he believed intruders were breaking into the home, fired his gun one time, striking an officer. Police responded by firing 32 shots into the apartment, killing Taylor. No drugs were ever found in Taylor’s apartment and the police investigation had reportedly centered on Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, who had already been arrested earlier that day.
Walker was initially arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer, but Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens ruled earlier this month to dismiss the charges with prejudice, ensuring Walker can not be re-charged in connection to the case.
On Saturday, Walker told WHAS-TV he feels like the decision to dismiss the charges was “just the beginning” of achieving justice in the case. He was among those demonstrators remembering Taylor in Louisville.
"It's hard and it's rough for me to look at the fact of why we're here but it's great to see that she has so much support and love and also that there is some support and love for me, too," he said.
Only one officer, Brett Hankison, has been indicted for his role in the botched raid. Hankinson—who was later terminated by the police department—is facing a charge of wanton endangerment for firing into the wall of the residence. Some of the bullets went through the wall and entered an adjacent apartment. But the charge isn't directly related to Taylor's death. He has pleaded not guilty and is still awaiting trial in the case.
On the anniversary of Taylor’s death, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released a statement saying he was “deeply, deeply sorry” for her death.
"Breonna’s death devastated her family, friends and coworkers, and it has deeply shaken our community and our country. Her death, along with those of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, serve as painful reminders for Black Americans of the injustice, discrimination and violence they’ve faced for centuries -- and too often still face today," Fischer said according to ABC News. "For White America, these deaths were the latest reckoning and a just alarm that things must change -- that America, united, must listen, understand and act to end the injustice that’s hurt and held our country back for far too long."
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