Activists, Celebrities and Family Mark 6 Months Since Louisville Police Shot and Killed Breonna Taylor

Illustration for article titled Activists, Celebrities and Family Mark 6 Months Since Louisville Police Shot and Killed Breonna Taylor
Photo: Peter Fox (Getty Images)

Days after a grand jury was empaneled to decide whether to investigate the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, supporters and activists marked the 6-month anniversary of her killing with 26 hours of prayer—one hour for every year of life the young emergency medical technician lived.

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The event was organized by NYC-based social justice organization Until Freedom, which has helped organize protests and rallies in Louisville, Ky., and beyond since Taylor’s death.

“We are at our highest point when we are connected to spiritual guidance,” Until Freedom co-founder Tamika Mallory told CNN. “Some people aren’t protestors but they’re in touch with their spirituality, so we’re trying to provide an opportunity to get every person to participate in the fight for justice for Breonna Taylor.”

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Taylor’s name and image could be found on courts and racing tracks and social media accounts around the world on Sunday. Among the most notable demonstrations came from British Formula One Driver Lewis Hamilton, who wore a black long-sleeve shirt reading “ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR” at the Tuscan Grand Prix race in Mugello, Italy. He wore the shirt again at the top of the podium after his win; Sky Sports reports the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is “investigating” his use of the shirt.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton also wore a face mask bearing her name, and Los Angeles Rams players wore shirts with her image, among other victims of police violence, before their game on Sunday.

Since Taylor’s death on March 13, two of the three officers who raided her apartment still remain with the Louisville Metro Police Department. Brett Hankison, already under investigation for two separate incidents, including allegations of sexual assault, was fired in June but is appealing to get his job back, reports CNN.

Progress has been slow and scattered in the months since LMPD officers raided Taylor’s home, shooting her and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who survived the firestorm.

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Louisville has banned the use of “no-knock” warrants, which allow police to forcibly enter homes without announcing their presence, and body camera wear is now mandated. Taylor’s death has also helped galvanize the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, with activists, celebrities, publications, and politicians across the nation invoking her name to call for criminal justice reform.

But the LMPD remains fully funded and no charges have yet been brought against the cops who killed her.

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Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, voiced her frustrations with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is leading the investigation into her daughter’s killing, on her Instagram account last week.

“Your mother put everything she had into raising you. If you ask her, she will say without hesitation that she would stop at nothing to protect you,” read Palmer’s post, which tagged Cameron. “If you were gunned down in your own home, wouldn’t she demand the killers be brought to justice?”

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“Do you have the power and courage to call my child yours, the power to see that my cry and my community’s cry is heard, and the power as part of a village who raises our children to do right by one of our daughters?!”

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Walker also spoke out last week through one of his attorneys, Steve Romines. According to Romines, Walker is racked with survivor’s guilt from his encounter with police on March 13. Walker was charged with attempted murder after LMPD claimed he shot and injured an officer after he came down to confront what he thought were intruders to Taylor’s apartment. Prosecutors dropped the charges against the 28-year-old, but while he was held in jail on a full $250,000 cash bond, Walker missed Taylor’s funeral.

Walker is now suing the LMPD and the city of Louisville.

“When you are shot at and when you see a loved one basically executed in front of you, you never recover from that,” Romines told NBC News. “It is something that haunts him every single night.”

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

boredalway666
boredalways

Thank you, Anne, for shining a light on Lewis Hamilton. I’ve tried off and on for years with polite nudges to get The Root to follow and report on him for his profession as a Formula 1 driver.

All of F1's current social promotions for END RACISM is because of Hamilton.

Hamilton, a 6x World Driver’s Champion (and soon to be a record tying 7x Champ), driving in the world’s most watched racing series — 2nd only to International Football aka Soccer.

Hamilton has 90 F1 victories, one shy of the record. And we’re just past the halfway mark of this season.

I could go on, but it should be clear that a Black man is at the top of and dominating a global sport usually only accessable to people of no color. And he has been and will continue to be a global champion of BLM.

I hope that going forward, The Root will continue to shine a light on Lewis Hamilton more often and the causes he supports.

ETA: