Protest

Hundreds turned out to protest the death of Breonna Taylor, an African American EMT who was shot in her own apartment in Louisville. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) --  A crowd of several hundred people gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday seeking justice for Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot to death by Louisville Metro Police at her apartment in March. The crowd called for the arrest of the officers involved.

For weeks, demonstrators have been protesting in Louisville over the shooting of Taylor, an African American EMT worker who was shot to death at her home by police, but this was the first time such a rally was held in Frankfort. 

The protests followed the May release of a 911 call Taylor's boyfriend made on March 13, moments after the 26-year-old was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door. No drugs were found in the home.

Among the chants heard at the rally were, “Arrest the cops!” “No justice, no peace!” and “Say her name—Breonna Taylor!”

State Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, who was one of the speakers, called out Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Gov. Andy Beshear.  “We are here to send a strong message to the Attorney General to move quickly or get out of the way,” she said.  “We are here to send a strong message to Gov. Beshear: You had better not ever send the State Police and the National Guard to Louisville again.”

She called for statewide legislation to ban no-knock search warrants, one of which was allegedly used at her apartment.  The noise prompted her boyfriend to fire a shot, which wounded one of the officers.  They returned fire, and Taylor was struck eight times.

Scott also had a message for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, “Mayor Fischer, you’ve got to go.  Resign now.”

Ben Crump, one of the attorneys representing Taylor’s family, thanked the others involved, “For answering the call for justice, for an innocent black woman who was killed in the sanctity of her own home.  If you can’t be safe in your own home, where CAN you be safe?”

He stated, “She had no criminal history, she had never been arrested, and she was an essential worker, working on the coronavirus.”

Crump also accused Louisville officials of trying to sweep the incident under the rug.

Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, brought what looked like political yard signs, which said, “Justice for Breonna.”  Palmer said she was going to put them on the Capitol lawn.

“You know that Breonna’s life mattered," Palmer told the crowd, “And you all being out here in support shows that her life mattered.  And we’re not done until everyone knows her life mattered.”

Another one of the speakers was Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville, who was also seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.

He said Louisville officials never thought the protests would happen.  “They thought we’d be okay with the door being kicked in.  They thought we’d be okay with another hashtag.  They thought we’d be quiet and sit down.  They didn’t think we’d stand up and fight back.”

The LMPD announced earlier this week that one of the officers, Brett Hankison, had been fired for violating department rules on the use of deadly force.  Two others, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly are still on the force but are on administrative reassignment while the case is being investigated.            

No one has been charged at this point.

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