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Say Her Name: A Year Since the Wrongful Death of Breonna Taylor


Say Her Name: A Year Since the Wrongful Death of Breonna Taylor



A year ago on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was safe inside her home in Louisville, KY, when white, plain-clothed officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove forced their way into the apartment as part of a planned raid for a drug-dealing suspect. Oblivious to what was happening, Taylor and Walker never assumed they would be gun downed in their own home. Taylor’s Boyfriend Kenneth Walker, alarmed by the sudden entry of three men, fired a warning shot that struck an officer in the leg, which then promoted the officers to fire back without acknowledging who they were firing at.

It has now been a year, and none of the officers involved have been held accountable for Taylor’s death. A total of 32 rounds were fired, several of them hitting the 26-year-old while she was in her bedroom. Although the officers haven’t faced any criminal charges concerning her death, at least three officers have been terminated, according to NPR. Because of the events that transpired last year, the city of Louisville pushed to ban no-knock warrants because of the lack of awareness.

This year on the anniversary of Taylor’s wrongful death, hundreds gather in Louisville for justice of Taylor and the rest of the Black community who is wronged by the judicial system. Although there has been some movement made, none exemplify justice for Taylor and her family, especially the lack of accountability made in issuing limitations of no-knock warrants. “That law is crap,” Palmer, Taylor’s mother told NPR recently. “They totally whitewashed the original bill. There’s no police accountability. So here, it’ll be another time next year that well be right back in the same position.”

Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, filed complaints last year about the Louisville Police Department’s lack of professionalism on the job, and the involvement of several officers in the raid investigation. Palmer’s outrage for the misconduct and failure of the judicial system is clearer once the public hears why one ex-officer was charged.

Former Louisville Detective Brett Hankison, who was fired in June 2020, was indicted for first-degree wanton endangerment. The charges refer to Hankison recklessly firing into the apartment, which potentially endangered Taylor and Kenneth Walker’s neighbors, not Taylor and Walker themselves.

Detective Myles Cosgrove was the one who fired the shot that killed Taylor, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, yet he was not charged because the jury found his actions “justifiable.”

So, the thought of this reckless act potentially harming Taylor’s neighbors is enough to charge an officer, but the reckless act of shooting and killing an innocent is not enough to charge? The confusion behind the decision about the three officers left Taylor’s family angered more than ever. The justice system continuously proves zero accountability in protecting Black and brown lives.

In a statement made by Palmer and read by Bianca Austin last year, Palmer expressed her valid anger and sadness in the wrongful treatment of her daughter, and many others in similar situations. “When I speak on it, I’m considered an angry Black woman, but know this: I am an angry Black woman. I am not angry for the reasons that you would like me to be — but angry because our Black women keep dying at the hands of police officers and Black men,” said Palmer in September 2020.

One of the family’s attorneys Benjamin Crump finds the charges concerning and confusing. Crump believes the indictment “punishes one officer for missing a Black body — but forgives the others for shooting Taylor.” “If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartment next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna,” Crump stated on NBC’S Today Show.



References

Booker, Brakkton, and Rachel Treisman. “A Year After Breonna Taylor’s Killing, Family Says There’s ‘No Accountability.” NPR, NPR, 13 Mar. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/03/13/973983947/a-year-after-breonna-taylors-killing-family-says-theres-no-accountability. Chappell, Bill. “‘I Have No Faith In The Legal System,’ Breonna Taylor’s Mother Says.” NPR, NPR, 25 Sept. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/09/25/916868004/i-have-no-faith-in-the-legal-system-breonna-taylor-s-mother-says. Elahi, Amina. “Hundreds Gather In Louisville To Mark 1 Year Since Breonna Taylor’s Death.” NPR, NPR, 13 Mar. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/03/13/976875804/hundreds-gather-in-louisville-to-mark-1-year-since-breonna-taylors-death. TODAYNBC. “Breonna Taylor Family Attorney: ‘Nothing Seems To Say That Breonna Mattered’ | TODAY.” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Sept. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6wXT30OJNg.



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