Posted on May 15, 2020

‘Sleeping While Black’: Family Seeks Justice for Breonna Taylor, Killed in Her Bedroom by Police

Marquise Francis, Yahoo News, May 13, 2020

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT worker in Louisville, Ky., was shot in her bed after midnight on March 13 by three police officers serving a “no-knock warrant,” becoming another statistic in the long list of African-Americans killed at the hands of police. What makes the case unusual is that Taylor was a woman.

And, of course, she was asleep.

The incident is still being investigated and Taylor’s family is suing Louisville Metro Police Department Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankinson and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly alleging wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence. According to the suit, the police fired more than 20 rounds in the apartment. Taylor was hit eight times and pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers were looking for a drug suspect who lived 10 miles away and was already in police custody, according to the Courier-Journal. Police said the suspect had used the address where Taylor lived with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, to receive packages in the mail. No drugs were found in the apartment, and neither Taylor nor Walker has an arrest record.

The warrant contained a “no-knock” provision, which allows police to enter a home without identifying themselves. Officers said they knocked on the door several times and “announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant.” But when no one came to the door, the police forced their way in and “were immediately met by gunfire,” Lt. Ted Eidem said at a March 13 press conference. One officer was shot and wounded in the leg.

The shot was fired by Walker, who, according to his lawyer, was licensed to have a firearm and fired in self-defense, believing the intruders were burglars. Walker has been charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.

The department has declined to answer questions on the case, citing an ongoing investigation. No body-camera footage is available from the incident, since officers in the Criminal Interdiction Division, who conducted the search warrant, do not wear cameras, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said. None of the officers involved have been charged in connection with the shooting.


More national attention came this week when the family hired prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery. {snip}


Politicians and journalists, including Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Jemele Hill, have also taken up Taylor’s cause on social media, calling for answers.

“Breonna Taylor’s family deserves justice,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “It is so dehumanizing that Breonna’s family & many others must launch public campaigns just to have victim’s lives recognized & given the dignity of due process.”

“Have any of the police been arrested or charged?” Hill tweeted. “I think you already know.”