LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than a hundred people gathered here May 25 to protest the March 13 police killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician.
“My daughter’s life mattered,” Tamika Palmer told fellow protesters. “Those cops shot her. They should be held accountable.”
Taylor was killed in a police raid on her apartment after midnight. The plainclothes cops in unmarked cars were assumed by her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, to be intruders. He called 911 to say Taylor and he were “in significant, imminent danger.”
After busting down the door with a battering ram, the cops fired a hail of bullets. Eight shots hit Taylor. Walker picked up his gun to try to defend himself and his girlfriend. He fired a warning shot, hitting an officer in the leg. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder, but later released and the charges dropped.
For two months, Taylor’s family pressed for authorities to explain what happened. The killing received no attention in the media. Then the family filed a lawsuit charging Metro Police Department Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove with killing their daughter as they “sprayed gunfire into the residence with total disregard for the value of human life.”
The officers justified their actions, saying they had a “no-knock” warrant to search for narcotics and a warrant for a suspect. But they admit they found no drugs in the apartment, and the person they claimed to be looking for was already in police custody. The officers have been “placed on administrative leave,” but none have been charged.
The cop killing of Breonna Taylor finally began getting some coverage after the months-old vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia broke through the media.
The Memorial Day action began with the families of both Taylor and Walker leading a procession of cars circling the parking lot outside their apartment while supporters cheered. Then they joined their neighbors and other supporters in holding a rally and wreath laying in front of the apartment where she was killed.
Juniyah Palmer, Breonna’s sister and roommate, pointed to a bullet hole in the wall, explaining her bed is on the other side, and she would likely have been hit if she had been home.
Further protests are planned.