By Argiris Malapanis
Hundreds of people marched to a rally at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13 to mark the one-year anniversary since Breonna Taylor’s death. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was shot and killed in her home by police officers who broke down her door in a midnight raid to serve a no-knock search warrant on the wrong house.
Similar protests took place the same day in other cities, including Atlanta, New York, and Washington, DC, according to USA Today and other news reports.
“Until a jury trial tells us that these officers are not guilty, there’s always time to indict,” Lonita Baker, one of the attorneys for Taylor’s family, said at the Louisville action, which was organized by the group Until Freedom and Taylor’s family. “And that’s what we’re going to continue to fight for,” Baker added.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, led the march behind a banner bearing her daughter’s image. Speakers at the rally included Palmer; Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker; Ben Crump, an attorney for the family; and Sadiqa Reynolds, Louisville Urban League president.
Relatives of others killed by police around the country also took part. They included the sister of Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year-old Latino who was shot by a police officer in Vallejo, California, last June and daughters of Danny Ray Thomas, an African-American who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Houston in 2018.
No one has been charged in Taylor’s killing. Three cops involved in the raid were fired. Brett Hankison, the only officer indicted for anything, was fired last year. He was charged for wanton endangerment after shooting into neighboring apartments during the raid, but not for killing Taylor. Detective Joshua Jaynes was fired earlier this year for lying to obtain the search warrant. Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired the fatal shot, was also dismissed.
On March 12, Taylor’s mother filed complaints against six officers for their actions the night of the raid and in the “investigation” leading up to it. The complaints include lying to obtain the court order for the raid, failure to turn on body cameras during the assault, and tampering with a crime scene and evidence.
Last year Palmer settled a wrongful death suit with the city of Louisville for $12 million. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to carry out a series of reforms, including more oversight by top commanders, safeguards in conducting raids, and flagging officers accused of using excessive force. The city did not admit any wrongdoing in Taylor’s killing.
As the cops broke the door to Taylor’s apartment, her boyfriend, not knowing it was police, fired his pistol, which he legally owned, wounding Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. Walker was arrested on the spot and later released. A week before the March 13 rally, a judge permanently dismissed all charges against him. Protesters cheered when Walker announced the charges had been dropped.