March 13th was a very pivotal day for the United States. Not only was it the day the whole country went into lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19, but it was also the day an innocent 26-year-old woman by the name of Breonna Taylor was murdered in cold blood by Louisville police. Since then, there have been countless protests, petitions and even riots in her name to convince government officials to arrest the police officers responsible for her death.
On this tragic day of March 13th, at about midnight, Louisville police broke into her apartment while she was sleeping and police officers John Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove fired 32 rounds, hitting her five times, which later led to her death. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, whom she lived with at the time, thought that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend was breaking in and initially fired a warning shot at the officers which led to the hail of gunfire. He shot Mattingly in the leg. At 12:47, twenty minutes after Taylor had been shot, police called medical assistance for her. Walker says that she had been choking and struggling to breathe before she received any attention.
The officers broke into Taylor’s home looking for a suspect who had already been detained earlier that night. Though they had a No-Knock Warrant, they were still required to announce themselves as police officers for the “suspects” safety and for their own. Had they announced themselves as law enforcement, Walker claims he would not have fired at the officers, thus avoiding Taylor’s death. Since then minimal arrests have been made for her murder.
In June the Kentucky government created “Breonna’s Law,” which diminished the No-Knock Warrant. Up to that point, two months had passed without any arrests for Breonna’s killers. Meanwhile, social media reacted to the death of George Floyd, who had been a victim of racially targeted police brutality and died from asphyxiation. The publicity that Floyd’s case was getting brought attention to Taylor’s case. This explains why a lot of the protests this summer were in honor of both of their cases. Since then petitions have been going viral globally, pushing for the three officers that killed Taylor to be arrested. The media even got the hashtag #SayHerName trending on several different social media platforms on June 5th, which would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday.
Even more, outrage developed in Breonna Taylor’s Case after Kenneth Walker was arrested for attempted murder for shooting one of the officers. The reason this stirred up so much national controversy was that three officers murdered Breonna Taylor, but her boyfriend was arrested for using his second amendment right to protect himself, his girlfriend and his property when he thought there was an intruder in his home. For months, Kentucky officials were radio silent on Taylor’s case, which only infuriated the media even more. John Mattingly was arrested in late September. However, this raised anger in the Black Lives Matter community because he was arrested not for Taylor’s death but for Wanton Endangerment. Ultimately, the charges came from the bullets that hit the surrounding apartments of Taylor’s home.
In short, three cops killed a black woman in her sleep. Only one was arrested for the bullets that missed. Therefore, the black community and allies are outraged at this outcome and will continue to use their voices to ensure Breonna and her family receive justice. It has been over 213 days since she was murdered, and all her killers still walk the streets as normal civilians.
Say Her Name, Breonna Taylor
No Justice, No Peace
By Jeanni Floyd