Who is Breonna Taylor, African-American Killed by Police Before George Floyd?

African-American Breonna Taylor was shot dead by Louisville police on March 13, 2020 in her apartment, but officers who shot at her have not been charged.

Breonna Taylor
African-American emergency technician, 26, was shot dead by Louisville police on March 13, this year. Twitter

Breonna Taylor would have turned 27 on June 5 if she was alive. She lost her life in the middle of the night on March 13 this year when Louisville police officers broke open her apartment door and shot at her.

African-American Taylor was with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker inside her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, when at 1 pm on the fated night she heard someone knocking at her door. Before she knew what was happening, the door was forced open and gunshots were fired, killing Taylor on the spot. Taylor, 26, was an emergency-room medical technician and wanted to be an NICU nurse.

Attempt to Murder Charges

Louisville Metro Police Department officers Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Brett Hankison, and Detective Myles Cosgrove broke into Taylor's apartment with a no-knock search warrant in relation to a drug investigation. She was shot at least eight times, said her boyfriend Kenneth Walker.

Walker, who had a gun, shot a police officer on his leg and was arrested on charges of attempt to murder. Charges against him were dropped last month after police claimed that they needed further investigation into the matter. Walker had said that he had a license to own a gun and fired in self-defense as the police shot at his girlfriend.

The incident occurred when the Louisville police were probing two men for selling drugs. During investigation, police said that they had received information that drugs were sold from inside Taylor's apartment. Police received a no-knock warrant from a judge that does not make it necessary to knock at the door of the accused and identify themselves as police. However, Postal Inspector Tony Gooden had said that his office informed the police that no kind of packages of a suspicious nature were being received from Taylor's apartment.

Following violent demonstrations over another African-American George Floyd's death, people of all states in the US started staging protests. People of Louisville also gathered on May 29 to stage a protest against Taylor's death and to demand justice. During the protest, seven people were injured as gunshots were fired (suspects not yet identified), dispersing the protesting crowd. This protest made Taylor's murder too a national issue and forced Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer to take strict measures.

Wearing Body Camera Made Compulsory

The whole incident raised suspicion as no drugs were found inside the apartment. Walker's lawyers also claimed that the main suspect in the drug case was arrested at least 10 miles away from Taylor's apartment before the three officers barged into her house. The three officers are on administrative reassignment, but no cases have been filed against them.

Another issue of concern is that the officers who broke open Taylor's apartment door did not wear body camera. In the aftermath of violence and protest, Mayor Fischer temporarily suspended all no-knock warrants. He has also ordered review of Kentucky city's police department.

In addition, Fischer has said that body cameras should always be worn during the execution of search warrants. He also directed the officers concerned to establish a civilian review board for police disciplinary matters.

On June 5, hundreds of people gathered in Washington Park to pay tribute to Taylor on the occasion of her birthday. Washington Park was filled with people holding candles, listening to various artists. Singers, poets and rappers too performed in the park in memory of Taylor.

The American people have not forgotten Taylor, but observers say it is regrettable that it took two months for authorities to order review of the case and to take necessary measures in this regard. The outcome of the investigation is still pending and the officers in charge have only been placed on administrative reassignment.