On March 13, 2020, shortly after midnight, 26 year old Breonna Taylor was tragically murdered by Louisville police officers during a search warrant raid. She was struck a total of five times by those police officers and was said to have suffered in her last five minutes of life. The Breonna Taylor case is a terrifying example of a lack of police accountability that has gained mounting attention since the death of George Floyd. Since this incident, there has been misinformation on some of the details as to what exactly happened that fateful night, and when none of the police officers involved in Ms Taylor’s shooting were charged with anything related to her death, there has been a huge public outcry against the state of Kentucky. So, what exactly happened that night and why aren’t those responsible being held legally liable for their actions?
First, let us provide some some context on the events of March 13. The police had been conducting an investigation on two men who were believed to be selling drugs out of a house not too far from Taylor’s apartment. A judge had granted a “no knock” search warrant, allowing the police officers to search Taylor’s home because the police believed that one of these men, Jarmarcus Glover, was using her apartment to receive packages. That “no knock” search warrant was later changed to a “knock and announce” warrant. Glover had been dating Taylor on and off for years, but had cut ties with her according to the family’s lawyer. Taylor and her new boyfriend Kenneth Walker were in bed, but were awakened by a loud banging on the door. Fearful for their lives, Walker, who is a licensed gun owner in the state of Kentucky, grabbed his gun before asking who was at the door. After the police broke the hinges off the door, Walker shot his gun once, hitting the thigh of Sergeant Mattingly. This caused these officers to shoot various rounds at the couple, wounding and ultimately killing Taylor almost instantly. One of the three officers, Detective Brett Hankison, blindly shot ten bullets into the wrong apartment, believing it to be Taylor’s, putting a child and pregnant woman at risk. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment and Glover has since been arrested for drug possession, confirming that Taylor had no involvement with the drug trade.
Since the murder of Breonna Taylor, the fallout has been surprisingly minor. Kenneth Walker was charged with attempted murder for shooting Sergeant Mattingly, but this charge has since been dismissed. Many of the details of that night are still blurry, as the officers insist that they had announced their presence before forcing entry, while Walker claims to not have heard them and was fearful for his and Taylor’s life. Only one of the officers, Detective Hankison, has been fired, while the other two have been reassigned. The city of Louisville has since banned the use of “no knock” warrants in light of this case, and have granted $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Taylor’s family along with instituting reforms aimed at preventing future deaths by officers.
Yet even with all of these promises, there is still a public outcry because the officers involved did not have to face any murder charges for Breonna Taylor’s death. People in Louisville continue to take the streets to fight for Breonna Taylor and the decision made by the court to not charge these police officers for her murder. Breonna Taylor has not yet received the justice that the public believes she deserves, and many will continue to use their voice until justice is served.