One Officer Has Been Indicted in Connection With Breonna Taylor's Death—but It's Not Enough
Update, September 23rd, 2020, 3:06 ET: This story has been updated from its original version with the latest news about seeking justice for Breonna Taylor.
Today, Wednesday, September 23rd, one officer, Brett Hankison was indicted by a Kentucky grand jury on first-degree wanton endangerment charges for his actions on the night Breonna Taylor was killed by police—but not directly for her death.
The indictment comes six months after Taylor was killed, and the lack of accountability for her death is prompting rightful outrage.
Taylor was an award-winning EMT living in Louisville, Kentucky. After midnight on March 13th, Louisville police executed a “no-knock warrant,” crashed into Taylor’s apartment, and fatally shot her at least eight times. The reason? They were undergoing a drug investigation—at the wrong apartment. While recent protests and public action across the country have led to the arrests and charges of all four officers involved in George Floyd’s death (which is a start, but not an end to justice), the three officers involved in Taylor’s death—Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove—have not been charged specifically for her death.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Taylor family, tweeted, "NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!"
Earlier this year, to shed more light on Taylor’s case and demand full justice for her wrongful death, freelance writer and creator of the lifestyle blog BattyMamzelle, Cate Young, created the #BirthdayForBreonna campaign to align with what would have been Taylor's 27th birthday on June 5th.
Though the date has passed, many of the action items remain relevant as efforts are still needed to put pressure on officials to take action for Breonna Taylor.
Some of the still relevant action items include: signing the Change.org petition for justice for Taylor; donating to her family’s GoFundMe; emailing the Kentucky attorney general, mayor and governor; and donating to the Louisville Community Bail Fund to bail out protesters.
The efforts to remember and find justice for Taylor support the ongoing #SayHerName movement, which calls attention to the police violence against Black women, girls, and femmes. A report first-issued in 2015, “Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women,” had the same goal.
“Although Black women are routinely killed, raped, and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality,” Kimberlé Crenshaw, director of Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and co-author of the report, told Neighborhood Funders Group.
She continued: “Yet, inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives, and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combatting racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color.”
As many people across the country continue protesting, making calls, signing petitions, and doing important work to demand justice for George Floyd and get the message across that Black lives matter, there’s a group we can’t leave out: Black women. Black women, trans included, disproportionately experience police brutality as Black men do, yet their names rarely receive the same media attention, and their deaths often don’t evoke the same level of outrage. Breonna Taylor is one of these women, and it's imperative that her name isn't forgotten.
As we continue fighting for an end to police brutality and racial injustice, the fight must be intersectional. Say her name, say their names, never forget, and never give up.
Original post: June 5th, 2020.