The family of a Black woman who was shot to death by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, in March has hired a prominent attorney who also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man fatally shot while jogging in Georgia.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot eight times by Louisville Metro police officers on March 13 after they entered her apartment with a drug warrant looking for someone else. Her family filed suit on April 27, saying the warrant didn’t include either Taylor or her boyfriend and alleging the officers entered “without knocking … or announcing themselves.”
Taylor’s family this week hired noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery. Two white men were charged this week in Arbery’s February killing after outrage that followed the release of a video showing the shooting.
Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, said this week that Taylor’s slaying had simmered beneath the headlines for as long as the Arbery case, and he linked the lack of attention to gender bias.
“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,” Crump told The Washington Post, listing the names of prominent Black men killed by police officers. “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.”
According to the lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, believed the apartment was being broken into during the police raid. He fired a legally owned firearm, hitting one of the officers. Officers then opened fire and killed Taylor. At least 20 shots were fired.
The Louisville Courier Journal notes no drugs were found. The lawsuit says the person police were looking for had already been arrested 10 miles from Taylor’s home earlier that day. The paper reported this week that a judge had signed a warrant with a “no-knock” provision, meaning officers could enter without announcing themselves, although the department says officers knocked multiple times before entering.
No charges have been filed against the officers involved. Walker, 27, was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer, NBC News reported. He remains jailed, according to Crump.
“Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands,” the suit says. “Neither of the two had any criminal history for drugs or violence.”
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, told the Courier Journal on Tuesday she wasn’t sure officers “understand what they took from my family.”
“She had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family,” Palmer said of her daughter. “Breonna had her head on straight, and she was a very decent person.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he would demand a “thorough investigation” into Taylor’s death.
“As always, my priority is that the truth comes out, and door justice to follow the path of truth,” Fischer said in a statement. “Police work can involve incredibly difficult situations. Additionally, residents have rights. These two concepts will and must be weighed by our justice system as the case proceeds.”