Today, Breonna Taylor should be celebrating her 27th birthday. Instead, she was senselessly killed by Louisville police officers in a no-knock raid on March 13, during which cops targeted her house in the middle of the night for no good reason and fired at least 20 bullets at the innocent residents. Nearly three months later, no charges have been filed and the police officers involved still have their jobs. The officers were simply placed on administrative leave.
Today, activists are trying to change that. They’re encouraging people to send cards to the Kentucky attorney general asking that he bring charges against the officers who killed her.
Police said they were there on a drug raid, but no drugs were found. “We now know that Taylor wasn’t even the person police were investigating. Their main suspect, Jamarcus Glover, and his accomplices were already in custody by the time the police raided Taylor’s home,” writes Radley Balko in a detailed look at why “the no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor’s home was illegal.”
When Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, heard people breaking into their own, he grabbed his (legally owned) firearm. Walker—who said the plainclothes police did not identify themselves and that he had no reason to know they were law enforcement—allegedly fired at the intruders, hitting one in the leg and prompting them to open fire in return.
Walker was immediately arrested and charged with attempted murder and felonious assault, charges that have since been dismissed.
On Taylor’s birthday today, activists are asking people to share art, poetry, music, or “anything that will remind people that she lived and that he life mattered,” posting it to social media using the hashtags #SayHerName and #BirthdayForBreonna.
In addition, a vigil and balloon release in Taylor’s honor is planned for tomorrow, June 6, at the Louisville Metro Hall of Justice.
Ok! I finally have something concrete to share. Below is the official list of action items for this Friday’s #BirthdayForBreonna initiatives. Do as many as you can and share this widely so others can participate. Let’s make sure to #SayHerName. https://t.co/uJr5qPK2YA
— ????Cate Young ???????? (@battymamzelle) June 3, 2020
So far, Taylor has not been as central to recent anti-police-brutality protests as her male counterparts who were killed by police. “I think with the protests that have been happening in George Floyd’s name, it kind of got really easy and convenient to forget” Taylor, activist Cate Young told Distractify.
“Many black women have been left wondering when their equally tragic deaths, at the hands of police, will spark the same level of outrage,” writes Kamilah Newton at Yahoo.
I’m getting scared that we’re forgetting Breonna Taylor- those cops haven’t even been arrested. Please remember black women. Please let’s keep fighting for her.
— Ayana Mathis (@Ayana_Mathis) June 4, 2020
“Black women created this call to action because we continue to wrongly talk about the generations-long crisis of police and vigilante violence in a gendered way, as if it only happens to Black men,” writes musician John Legend:
On Breonna’s 27th birthday, I say her name and the names of Eleanor Bumpers, Atatiana Jefferson, Nina Pop, Aiyana Jones, Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Pamela Turner, Tyisha Miller, Miriam Carey, Chynal Lindsey, Shelly Frey, Darnisha Harris, and too many more.
In the wake of protests over Taylor’s death, Louisville’s mayor “instituted a new policy requiring ‘no knock’ warrants to be endorsed by the police chief or someone designated by the chief before being sent to a judge for approval. Last week, the mayor temporarily suspended all ‘no knock’ warrants,” notes The New York Times.
The FBI is now investigating Taylor’s death, along with the death of Louisville restaurant owner David McAtee, who was killed by Louisville cops on Sunday. The city’s chief of police resigned this week.
I was at this protest earlier today and it was one of the most peaceful gatherings I’ve ever been to: everyone was silent for over 30 mins! The park (where it started) was completely quiet. Marching was very casual & even joyful. NYPD clearly escalated this unnecessarily. https://t.co/vgAKp7LYwh
— Lauren Krisai (@laurenkrisai) June 5, 2020
• Two Buffalo, New York, police officers have been suspended after they were shown on video knocking an elderly man to the ground and then failing to help him as he bleeds onto the sidewalk. The department initially tried to claim that the man tripped.
• Meanwhile, in D.C.:
WRITER 1: We need, like, a sign, you know, a symbol of the
WRITER 2: Yeah, the way that Washington has just become this literal flashpoint
WRITER 1: A metaphor for
WRITER 2: It can’t be too obvious though
WRITER 1: Okay, okay, so how about https://t.co/VJl4YRT9Pi
— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) June 5, 2020
• A judge has ruled that all three defendants charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial.
Ahmaud Arbery was killed on Feb. 23rd. Until public pressure forced their hand, the local authorities were absolutely fine with letting the killers walk free.https://t.co/oe4pngxKkD https://t.co/bqaIGtUsdT
— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) June 4, 2020
• “The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has finally ended the madness that began with terroristic threat and disorderly conduct charges being leveled against a middle school student” for drawing a picture of a bomb.
• The Texas Department of Public Safety had to reassure people that post-its left on parked cars in Lubbock “were from a hail damage repair company, not sex trafficking ploys.”
• The New York Times is now trying to walk back running an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) by claiming that the publication had not followed normal procedures. Cotton disputes that anything was out of the ordinary:
— Rachel C. Abrams (@RachelAbramsNY) June 5, 2020
Apropos of, well, everything: a reminder that @reason did a how-to issue with instructions on breaking zip ties, jury nullification, off-grid living, digital privacy, and much more https://t.co/wBclFPoln2
— Katherine Mangu-Ward (@kmanguward) June 3, 2020