Photo by: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
It’s been two years and we are still saying her name!
A 26-year-old Black woman was slain in her home, gunned down by Louisville police two years ago on March 13. Not only has her name become a rallying cry at protests demanding police reform, but many social justice advocates also use her tale as an example of how difficult it can be to hold cops accountable for violent acts against civilians.
The officers involved have yet to be charged for Taylor’s murder. Breonna’s family nor the City of Louisville have seen justice in the two years since her tragic death.
“Her death has ignited a movement in Louisville and the nation for racial justice, sending thousands into our streets and cities all across the country and the world all crying out for justice for Breonna,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer stated at a press briefing.
What Taylor’s murder demonstrates is partly due to the system’s design, making it nearly impossible for the government to be held accountable for breaking the law.
For the time being, criminal courtroom battles may have passed, but the effort to correct what happened to the young ER technician is far from complete.
“At this point, it’s bigger than Breonna, it’s bigger than just Black Lives,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, stated. “We’ve got to figure out how to fix the city, how to heal from here.”
In what was an alleged failed narcotics operation, officers forced their way into her apartment during the early morning hours of March 13, 2020. Taylor was not the intended target of the operation, and the suspect police were looking for was not at the residence.
At least three of the involved cops, who fired a total of 32 shots from their service weapons, have been fired following the raid. However, none are facing criminal charges specifically related to Taylor’s death.
In September 2020, a grand jury charged Brett Hankison, a former Louisville cop involved in the raid, for wanton endangering neighbors whose apartment was hit when he fired without a clear line of sight into Ms. Taylor’s sliding glass patio door and window. He entered a not guilty plea.
The other two cops who fired rounds were fired by the department nine months after she was killed, but not charged. No one was held responsible for Breonna’s death.
“Justice has not been served,” Louisville Democratic Representative Scott said. “Folks on the front line have been very clear that they’re continuing to call for all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder to be fired, arrested, and charged for her murder. They have not wavered from those demands.”
The same month, the city of Louisville announced a $12 million settlement in Taylor’s family’s wrongful death case, which included various police improvements.
Many activists, however, believe that justice has not been served, highlighting the lack of criminal charges, and calling for broader criminal justice reform. Some are pushing for Kentucky’s Republican-controlled legislature to approve “Breonna’s Law,” which would outlaw no-knock warrants across the state.
Taylor’s family and friends are still in pain after two years. In 2021, her sister Ju’Niyah Palmer, said on Instagram that her heart was “heavy because we are just 2 months away from me not hearing, seeing, or snuggling you for an entire year.”
On Sunday, which marked two years now since Taylor’s death, Ju’Niyah posted a photo standing in front of a beautiful painting.
Tamika Palmer recently filed complaints with the police department’s professional standards unit regarding six officers’ roles in the investigation, which included the raid.
She also highlighted her dissatisfaction with the lack of accountability in the case in an interview with a Louisville CBS affiliate and urged the community to keep pursuing justice.
“I can’t believe it’s a year later and we’re still just asking people to do the right thing,” she said. “Not to say all officers are bad, but there’s no accountability.”
According to the police department’s firing letters made public, the former officers who procured the warrant for the search on Taylor’s residence were found to have violated department rules.
“The evidence, in this case, shows a sustained untruthfulness violation based on facts provided in an affidavit produced by you and submitted to a judge,” LMPD officials wrote of Detective Joshua Jaynes.
LMPD also said Myles Cosgrove broke the department’s use of fatal force standards and neglected to activate his officer-worn body camera.
The letter to Cosgrove read, “The shots you fired went in three different directions, indicating you did not verify a threat or have target acquisition. In other words, the evidence shows that you fired wildly at unidentified subjects or targets located within the apartment.”
As Breonna Taylor’s family and loved ones continue to mourn her tragic death, along with the world who learned more about her through photos, videos and memories, calls for justice and accountability still ring out.
Two years later, we continue to say her name — Breonna Taylor.
Tonight, the season finale of Sins of the City airs at 10P/9C only on TV One with an in-depth look at Breonna’s devastating death and the aftermath.
Join us on Twitter for live-tweeting and discussion, as we watch the episode and learn how the City of Louisville came together to fight for her murderers to be held accountable!