Athletes demand justice for Breonna Taylor

The struggle to bring about justice for Breonna Taylor continues. The 26-year-old African American emergency medical technician was fatally shot eight times by three white police officers who invaded her Louisville, Ky., home on March 13 during a no-knock, no-warrant narcotics search.  Originally it was reported that Taylor was asleep when her home was attacked by the police.

Artists and activists honor Breonna Taylor with this with this 7000-square-foot mural–the size of two basketball courts–in Annapolis, Md.

Four months after this heinous crime, none of the cops have been arrested or charged with murder.  Only one of the cops, Brett Hankison — who fired the fatal shots — has been terminated from his job.

A recent lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother states that she was not in her bed as originally reported, but was standing near the front door when she was killed. Taylor actually lived another five to six minutes before succumbing to her wounds.  The police did nothing to come to her aid and placed no calls to medics to try to save her or even check to see if she was still alive.   

In a sworn statement, Taylor’s life partner, Kenneth Walker, described the moment  after shots were fired by the police: “I was on the phone with [Taylor’s mom], when I kind of realized that it was the police, ’cause now they’re yelling like ‘Come out, come out!’ I’m still yelling ‘Help!’ because [Taylor’s] over here coughing [due to her wounds] and I’m just freaking out.” (CNN, July 18)

Taylor’s case continues to be uplifted around the country by the Black Lives Matter movement, ignited by the public lynching of George Floyd on May 25.  A 70-square-foot BLM mural of Taylor was recently painted in the streets of Annapolis, Md., during the first weekend in July.  

Prominent sports athletes have spoken up and often about this case. Jemani Grant, a National Basketball Association forward with the Denver Nuggets, referenced Breonna Taylor several times during a July 15 press interview, two weeks before the resumption of the NBA season. The Nuggets have officially taken this position on their Twitter account: “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”  

Kenny Stills, a National Football League wide receiver with the Houston Texans, was arrested during a July 14 protest for Taylor in front of the home of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. He and 86 other protesters were arrested while demanding that Taylor’s killers be brought to justice. The felony charges against Stills were dropped a few days later.  

Along with a photo of himself wearing a T-shirt that stated “Breonna Taylor’s killers are still police,” Stills later tweeted, “‘Good trouble’ with my brothers and sisters — organized by @untilfreedom. Arrested for peacefully protesting. While Breonna Taylor’s murderers are still out on the street.”  When Stills was with the Miami Dolphins, he consistently took a knee during the playing of the national anthem, in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and systemic racism.  

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