POLITICS

Oprah Winfrey Demands Justice For Breonna Taylor With 26 Kentucky Billboards

The business mogul, who dedicated O magazine's September issue to the EMT killed by police in March, is asking for the officers involved to be arrested and charged.

Oprah Winfrey and her O magazine team are using 26 billboards to demand that the officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor be arrested.

The 66-year-old business mogul erected one billboard for every year of Taylor’s life around Louisville, Kentucky, where the emergency room technician lived, according to WLKY.

Taylor was shot and killed by police officers in her own home in March after they used a no-knock warrant to enter amid a narcotics investigation. Their warrant was to search a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found inside Taylor’s home. Her death, alongside the deaths of other victims of police killings such as George Floyd in Minneapolis, has helped spark a nationwide movement to reckon with racial inequality and police brutality in America. 

The officers involved in Taylor’s death — Detective Brett Hankison, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — have not been charged; Hankison was fired, while Mattingly and Cosgrove were simply placed on administrative leave.

Winfrey’s billboards, which began going up on Thursday and are scheduled to all be in place by Monday, read: “Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged. Visit UntilFreedom.com.”

United Freedom, an “intersectional social justice organization rooted in the leadership of diverse people of color to address systemic and racial injustice,” is actively working on bringing justice to Taylor’s family and were the organizers of a rally last month outside Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home.

At that protest, police reported that 87 demonstrators were arrested and charged with a felony for trying to “intimidate” the prosecutor after refusing to leave. In response, Cameron said after the arrests that the protest “only serves to further division and tension within our community.

“From the beginning, our office has set out to do its job, to fully investigate the events surrounding the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor,” he said. “We continue with a thorough and fair investigation, and today’s events will not alter our pursuit of the truth.”

Winfrey’s billboards follow her decision to feature Taylor on the cover of the September issue of O magazine ― marking the first time in over two decades Winfrey herself didn’t appear on the cover. 

“She was just like me,” Winfrey wrote on the publication’s website. “She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter.”

The former talk show host explained why she chose to feature Taylor on the website and on social media: “Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping and your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem ... We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name.”