Who Breonna Taylor was and where her case stands today?
According to a New York Times article released Tuesday, Breonna Taylor’s family claimed that she was alive for up to 6 minutes after being fatally shot by the officers. Still, she received no aid and died, according to a court filing by the family.
On March 13th, Louisville police officers shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor eight times in her home during a drug raid. So far, there are no charges pertaining to any of the police officers involved. So far, Louisville PD only fired one of the three officers, Bret Hankison. The other two officers, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, faced administrative reassignment.
Breonna Taylor slept next to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when police used a battering ram to enter Taylor’s apartment. The officers had a no-knock warrant to search her apartment after they arrested two men who lived near her apartment for selling drugs.
Police believed that Taylor’s apartment was a place one of the men used to receive packages. Officers did not identify themselves as law enforcement and entered without warning.
Startled by the loud noise, Walker used a gun to shoot once at the door. This triggered officers to shoot back eight times, killing Breonna Taylor. According to Walker’s lawyer, the police found no drugs in the apartment.
Breonna Taylor was an EMT and aspiring nurse. According to friends and family, she was someone who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Taylor’s friend Erinicka Hunter said, "she always said that she would be a legend. I just never imagined it would be like this."
Though Breonna Taylor was an essential worker, her life mattered regardless of her titles. She was undoubtedly accomplished, in addition to being a daughter and a partner to Kenneth Walker. Regardless of who she was to other people, her life had value as a human being.
Since the George Floyd protests sparked national outrage, many questioned why Breonna Taylor had not received the same attention the George Floyd’s murder did. She was innocent. Police officers murdered her, just as they had George Floyd. What keeps her name from being a trending topic?
Perhaps, the fact that Floyd’s murder was on tape and made viral is what hit people deeply. Another reason could be the fact that Breonna Taylor was a Black woman. Black women are less “visible” in society compared to other groups, according to a study done by Amanda Sesko and Monica Biernat at the University of Kansas. The study claimed that Black women were less distinguishable from one another, a unique form of discrimination, according to the researchers. As Black women face harm from both sexism and racism, the lack of attention Black women face when it comes to seeking justice is not surprising. Breonna Taylor’s murder happened before the murder of George Floyd, but her name was only recently under the spotlight.
In a Times article, it claimed that the rage for the murder of Breonna Taylor was a “secondary outrage” or an “afterthought”. While names like Eric Garner, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or Philando Castille rightfully remain topics of national news, names like Breonna Taylor, Tanisha Anderson, Sandra Bland, and Atatiana Jefferson remain unrecognized by the public. The disparity in attention and rage between the deaths Black men and women are astonishing. These women deserve better.
Social media was a huge platform for diverting attention to Taylor’s case. Many users created clickbait posts that call for the arrest of the cops that killed Taylor. However, these well-intended posts about her death harm the movement that demands justice for her.
“Riverdale” actress Lilli Reinhart recently apologized for her now deleted Instagram post of herself topless with the caption, “Now that my sideboob has gotten your attention, Breonna Taylor’s murderers have not been arrested. Demand justice.” She took to Twitter to apologize and called her attempt to use her platform for good as “tone-deaf.”
Transforming Breonna Taylor’s death into a meme turns a movement that wants to seek justice for Taylor into one about making the memes a fad across social media.
In June, Beyoncé penned a letter to Kentucky’s Attorney General demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. She wrote, “your office has both the power and the responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor, and demonstrate the value of a Black woman’s life.”
“Don’t let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy. With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it,” she added. Almost a month after Beyoncé wrote the letter, the three officers who murdered Breonna Taylor still face no charges.
In honor of Breonna Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Council voted to ban no-knock warrants. It additionally requires officers to wear body cameras when issuing warrants and before beginning an operation.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney that represents Taylor’s family told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “now with the passage of the Breonna Taylor Law, she will be saving lives forever.”
It is ironic to know that a law passed unanimously in honor of Breonna Taylor while the officers involved in her murder have yet to be arrested. Two of the three cops still have their job. While Breonna’s law was a step in the right direction, there is so much left to be done in order to get justice for Breonna Taylor.
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