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George Floyd’s death has sparked fury not only in the US, but all over the world, prompting global protests against racial injustice.
While Floyd’s tragic passing served as a catalyst for the affirmative action, we’re reminded this heinous incident is far from isolated within law enforcement.
Just after midnight on March 13, Louisville police used a battering ram to break into the home of 26-year-old black woman and emergency room technician Breonna Taylor.
Police had been issued a search warrant on the grounds they believed two men were selling drugs out of her apartment, as well as receiving packages to her address, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
According to reports, the judge signed off on a ‘no knock’ warrant, which gave officers the right to enter without warning or without identifying themselves as law enforcement.
After a confrontation between Breonna and the officers, they opened fire, shooting her at least eight times. She died at the scene. Police say they announced themselves before entering and returned fire when Breonna’s boyfriend fired at the officers, CNN reports. However, Breonna’s family say officers didn’t announce themselves and should have called off the search as the suspect they wanted had already been arrested.
At just 26 years old, Breonna had her entire life ahead of her, and her mother Tamika Palma says she had dreams of becoming a nurse after pursuing her career as an emergency room technician.
‘She had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family. Breonna had her head on straight, and she was a very decent person,’ she told the Louisville Courier Journal. ‘She didn’t deserve this. She wasn’t that type of person.’
Police claim they only opened fire on Breonna after her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who was in bed with her, opened fire on the officers, shooting one of them in the leg. As a result, Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, however this charge was later dropped.
The officers also claim they knocked several times, despite their warrant not requiring them to do so, insisting they ‘forced entry into the exterior door and were immediately met with gunfire’. The three officers who opened fire, including the officer who was wounded, have been placed on administrative leave.
Meanwhile, Breonna’s family have told a very different version of events, with lawyers saying police didn’t identify themselves and confirming Walker had a license to carry a gun.
Walker’s lawyer has said the couple feared for their lives, believing someone was attempting to break in, and added that no drugs were found at the address.
Shortly after the incident, Walker phoned 911 and told a dispatcher, ‘Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend’.
Breonna’s family have said how ridiculous they find it that the raid had to be conducted in the middle of the night, particularly after the main suspect had already been located.
At the time, Breonna’s death went relatively under-reported, perhaps partially because of the intensity of the coronavirus coverage at the time.
While protests and demands for racism to come to an end continue, Breonna’s tragic and untimely death serves to prove black women need justice too. If you want to do your bit, sign the petition above in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, in the fight for racial equality.
Rest in peace, Breonna Taylor.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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