By Atiya Chowdhury
On March 13th 2020, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home after being shot eight times by three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers.
Taylor was a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician who was sleeping in her bed alongside her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Both were awoken by loud banging noises and gunshots which were being fired into their home. Walker believed intruders had broken into their home. However, the reality of this nightmare situation was that three police officers had executed a no-knock search warrant and began to fire twenty shots at the couple. A no-knock search warrant allows for officers to enter a residence without permission.
The LMPD was investigating a case of two people suspected of selling substances in a drug house more than 10 miles away from Breonna Taylor’s house. The officers at the scene were allegedly unaware that both suspects were already in custody and continued to pursue Taylor’s house as the search warrant permitted due to her previous relationship with one of the suspects, Jamarcus Glover.
Taylor’s home was suspected of receiving drugs as a car registered in her name was parked occasionally in front of Glover’s house. The LMPD had allegedly seen the suspected drug dealer walking into the residence with a USPS package in January. The warrant claimed that a US postal Inspector had confirmed that a man had been receiving packages at the residence. However, Postal Inspector, Tony Gooden, has denied this as he told the police there were no packages of interest being received at the apartment.
A battering ram was used to force open the door of the Taylor/Walker household. The Louisville police had stated that the officers had knocked and announced themselves as the police with a search warrant before entering. However, Walker and neighbours have disputed this saying the officers never announced themselves which was what led Walker to believe there were intruders, and ultimately what caused him to act in self-defence.
During his interrogation, Walker stated that Taylor had shouted multiple times “who is it?” but never received an answer. It was after this moment that Walker had armed himself, a licenced firearm carrier, and shot one of the police officer’s in the leg. In response, the officers opened more than 20 rounds, eight of which struck Breonna Taylor killing her at the scene. An anonymous source revealed that one of the officers even fired shots blindly from the exterior of the house through a window.
Since that tragic night, only Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had been faced with criminal charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. The police officers had not been charged with Taylor’s murder and, to this day, still face no consequences.
Taylor’s family believe, not only that Walker was wrongfully accused, but that the death of their daughter was committed intentionally. None of the three officers wore body cameras, the police cars were unmarked, and all three were dressed as plain-clothed narcotics officers. All this, along with the no-knock search warrant, led to Breonna Taylor being murdered ruthlessly with no justifiable reason in her own home.
It is only due to the pressure from the public protests that the Louisville government has banned no-knock search warrants. However, the hypocrisy of the situation lies in the fact that Breonna Taylor’s murderers have faced no criminal charges despite the overwhelming evidence and witness reports that weigh against them. Breonna’s Law may now help reduce future unlawful search warrants happening in the homes of innocent people, but Breonna Taylor herself has not been brought to justice.
The murder of Breonna Taylor only reminds us that many murders of the same kind go unnoticed by the justice system until the public takes a stand. Professor Brittany Cooper believes that it is only due to the George Floyd protests that Taylor’s case received such public attention as black women are often neglected. Many have also taken to social media to express their concerns that it is only because Breonna Taylor’s murder was not recorded which is why her murderers have not been charged. Such claims remind us that many murders against black people remain neglected until footage of the crime is released to the public, such as with the murder of George Floyd. It has almost become an unspoken rule that crimes against black people will only be brought to justice if there is visual footage, a rule which does not apply for our white counterparts.
Malcolm X once said that “the most disrespected person in America, is the black woman”. It is with this in mind, that we should not stop talking about Breonna Taylor. She was killed in her own home for no other reason than being black.