Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician in Louisville, Ky., was killed by eight police bullets as she lay in her bed at 1 a.m. on March 13.
This tragic incident is an all-too-familiar event. Another young Black person has died at the hands of the shoot-first, ask-questions-later police.
The police excuse for this horrific execution was that they had a warrant to search for drugs at Taylor’s home. It turned out that a different house had already been raided and an arrest made on the same warrant just hours earlier.
Taylor’s partner, Kenneth Walker, who is also Black and is registered to carry a weapon, fired his gun at the people forcing their way into the house — who turned out to be two detectives and one police officer. Walker also called 911 before the police indiscriminately fired into the bedroom and killed Taylor.
Defying logic, Walker has been arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree assault, while the three officers involved in killing Taylor have been put on “administrative leave” pending further investigation. No one should be shocked if these white officers are not fired or even charged with the murder of an unarmed Black woman.
Benjamin Crump — who served as lawyer for the family of murdered teenager Trayvon Martin — filed a wrongful death lawsuit on April 27 on behalf of Breonna Taylor’s family. It states that the police never announced themselves before invading the house and adds, “The actions of the defendant officers were made in bad faith, were performed with a corrupt motive, were outside the scope of the defendants’ authority, were executed willfully and with the intent to harm, and were in violation of Breonna’s constitutional and statutory rights.”
The lawsuit explains: “The defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life. Any defensive force used against the defendants was due to their forcible and unlawful entry into Breonna’s home.” (CNN, May 13)
The heinous murder of Breonna Taylor is not an isolated incident. It comes after the February murder by two neofascists of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging in Brunswick, Ga. Besides both being African Americans, both Taylor and Arbery died at the hands of racist terrorists, legal and extralegal, in and out of uniform. White supremacy, but in different forms. Both of these killings illustrate vividly the protest chant: “Cops and the Klan go hand-in-hand.”
It took Georgia police two months to arrest the father and son who killed Arbery. That only happened because his killing was captured on video, igniting outrage on social media and in the streets. Arbery attempted to defend himself, but had no protection. Walker attempted to defend his home with his weapon. Both Arbery and Walker had the right to defend themselves by any means necessary.
Breonna Taylor was an EMT who worked at two hospitals. She was one of the millions of heroic essential workers on the front line attempting to save lives during this horrific pandemic. Now her young life has been cut short, not by COVID-19 but by police terrorism. All charges should be dropped immediately against her partner, Kenneth Walker.
Pandemic or no pandemic, her death and Arbery’s show that as long as the capitalist system exists, the struggle for Black Lives Matter will not go away; it will not be silenced.