by Rob Taylor Jr.
Courier Staff Writer
PHOTOS BY EMMAI ALAQUIVA
There’s no way that Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman from Louisville who worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, could have thought her life would end the way it did.
She was in her own home, on a calm night, with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when someone created a loud bang on the front door. When the two asked who it was, no one responded. Fearing someone was breaking in, Walker fired a shot at the intruder.
What he didn’t know was, the intruders were actually Louisville police officers, in plainclothes, and coming unannounced, executing a “no-knock” search warrant on the residence. Officers returned fire, striking Taylor five times, killing her.
Word of the early-morning March 13 encounter didn’t spread across the country initially. Police in Louisville tried to keep it quiet, but slowly and surely, word began to spread.
The person the police were looking for, Jamarcus Glover, who is Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, wasn’t at the residence. He was arrested on the other side of the city. And the police never found any drugs in the apartment, as they believed they would. As they investigated Glover, police believed drugs had been dropped off at Taylor’s residence.
Then word began to spread that the police had been instructed to identify themselves prior to entering the residence. The officers said they did, but Walker contends they didn’t. Most supporters of Taylor are discrediting the police’s assertion.
Then, word spread of an ambulance, which was originally stationed near the residence, being told to leave the area. Proper protocol is to have the ambulance nearby just in case something goes awry, which, obviously, it did. But the ambulance was nowhere to be found when Taylor needed assistance.
“Breonna was a woman who was figuring everything out in her life, who had turned a corner,” Sam Aguiar, a lawyer representing Taylor’s family, told The New York Times. “Breonna was starting to live her best life.”
As the Ahmaud Arbery shooting death by White vigilantes in Georgia gained nationwide steam in late March, Taylor’s shooting death started to gain national traction, too. It became even bigger news after George Floyd’s death by a White police officer in Minneapolis, May 25.
Taylor’s death is just a stark reminder that Black lives do not matter, activists said. Which is why the “Say Her Name” hashtag and phrase has been widely used and publicized throughout this country for Taylor and others, like Sandra Bland. Activists and supporters of the
Black Lives Matter movement want this country to know that Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, along with Floyd, Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and countless others who’ve lost their life due to police or vigilante violence.
From Aug. 22 to Aug. 26, a celebration of Taylor’s life was held throughout the streets of Louisville, with thousands marching for justice. Justice for Breonna. Justice for Black and brown people throughout America.
MICHELLE KENNEY, left, the mother of Antwon Rose II, with Tamika D. Mallory. Mallory is a co-founder of the racial justice organization Until Freedom.
Pittsburghers made the trip to Louisville, too. The local organization 1 Hood Media led the Pittsburgh contingent, which featured those like 1 Hood’s Jasiri X, Miracle Jones, and Michelle Kenney, the mother of Antwon Rose II, the 17-year-old killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer in 2018.
MIRACLE JONES, JASIRI X, MICHELLE KENNEY, BRITTNEY CHANTELE
She was a better version of me,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, to The New York Times. “Full of life. Easy to love.”
LOCAL ORGANIZATION 1 HOOD MEDIA led a Pittsburgh contingent to Louisville in late August, not only in Breonna Taylor’s memory,but to demand justice for her death. Taylor, 26, was killed by Louisville Police while she was in her apartment, prompting a national outcry of police shootings against African Americans. (Photos by Emmai Alaquiva)