It’s been two months since 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Ky., EMT, was fatally shot by police officers during what has been described as a “botched execution of a warrant.” Now, Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department and is being represented by the same attorney who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and currently, Ahmaud Arbery. Both the family and attorney are now seeking more Black Lives Matter energy in the interest of justice for Breonna.
The Washington Post reports that civil rights attorney Ben Crump—who has been involved in a multitude of cases, including the aforementioned, where black people have been killed by police and by vigilantes—was hired Monday to represent Taylor’s family.
For those who are unfamiliar with the case of Breonna Taylor, she was shot to death in her apartment on March 13 after officers arrived to execute a search warrant for a suspected drug dealer who did not live at Taylor’s address and had actually already been arrested. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, was at her apartment that night and shot at who he says he thought were people trying to break in. He said the officers didn’t announce themselves as police. The firefight that ensued after Walker fired a shot, hitting an officer in the leg, ended in police firing more than 20 shots into the apartment, eight of which hit Taylor and took her life. Walker, who is a registered gun owner, has been charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.
Along with filing a lawsuit against the police, Crump and Taylor’s family are seeking more media and activist attention for Breonna’s case.
“I’m just getting awareness for my sister, for people to know who she is, what her name is,” Taylor’s sister Ju’Niyah Palmer, who has posted about Breonna’s case daily and wants it to be given the same attention as other Black Lives Matter causes, said. “It is literally just as equal. There’s no difference.”
As the Post acknowledges, “pandemic headlines were partly to blame in drowning out news of Taylor’s death,” but that doesn’t bring any comfort to her family, especially since, as an EMT, she was one of the people on the front lines in battling that same pandemic.
“She was an essential worker. She had to go to work,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said. “She didn’t have a problem with that. To not be able to sleep in her own bed without someone busting down her door and taking her life… I was just like, ‘Make sure you wash your hands!’ ”
Crump believes gender plays a larger role in why Taylor’s case hasn’t received much attention.
“They’re killing our sisters just like they’re killing our brothers, but for whatever reason, we have not given our sisters the same attention that we have given to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald,” Crump said. “Breonna’s name should be known by everybody in America who said those other names, because she was in her own home, doing absolutely nothing wrong.”
In a release received by The Root, Crump also said “We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department. Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the Department has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing.”
Crump is currently representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed while jogging by neighborhood vigilantes and whose case also took months to receive any real media attention.
Crump wants Taylor’s story to be met with the same energy that Arbery has gotten for the past week.
“If you ran for Ahmaud, you need to stand for Bre,” he said.