LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WOOD) — One year after Breonna Taylor’s death, the slain Black woman’s family continued their call for justice as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Louisville on Saturday.
“Eyes are on Louisville, Kentucky, today so let’s show America what community looks like,” said Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin, who wore her niece’s emergency medical technician jacket.
Austin spoke from a stage set up in Jefferson Square Park, which became an impromptu hub for protesters during months of demonstrations last summer. Flanked by two hand-painted murals of Taylor, activists repeated calls to charge the police officers who killed the Black woman during a raid at her apartment.
The crowd shouted Taylor’s name and “No justice, no peace” as they gathered near an outdoor memorial that includes a mural, posters, artwork and other mementos honoring Taylor’s life. Some organizers gave away food during the speeches.
Taylor’s family then led the protesters on an afternoon march past City Hall.
In Grand Rapids, Taylor’s cousin was joined by supporters rallying to honor Taylor on the street that now bears her name. Taylor was a native of Grand Rapids.
Taylor’s front door was breached by Louisville officers as part of a drug raid in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020. Her boyfriend fired his gun once, saying later that he feared an intruder was entering the apartment. One officer was struck, and he and two other officers fired 32 shots into the apartment, striking Taylor five times.
Taylor’s death initially flew under the media radar, as the COVID-19 crisis shut down society, but George Floyd’s death in Minnesota and the release of a chilling 911 call from Taylor’s boyfriend in late May sparked interest in the case.
A grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges in September for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment, but no officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death.
Police had a no-knock warrant but said they knocked and announced their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, a claim some witnesses have disputed. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
An ongoing federal investigation could be wide ranging and is regarded by many as the last chance for justice for Taylor’s death.
Hudspeth Blackburn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.