A look into the shooting of Breonna Taylor and the aftermath

SYDNEY MCCALL- STAFF WRITER

Maria Oswolt | Associated Press

Louisville Metro Police Department released the 4,470 page investigation file on the shooting of Breonna Taylor Oct. 7. Additionally, Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s Attorney General, released 15 hours of recordings of the case that explain what led to the controversial verdict.

In the officers’ body camera footage from the night of Taylor’s death, you can hear Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, distressingly talking to a dispatcher after Taylor was shot.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed in her apartment on March 13, 2020. Police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove were serving a no- knock warrant when they forced entry into her home.

Believing the officers were intruders, Walker fired a warning shot which struck Officer Mattingly, resulting in the officers firing 32 shots in return. Taylor was hit by six of those bullets and passed away.

Taylor received no medical attention until 20 minutes after she was shot, The Courier Journal reported.

Affectionately called “Breewayy” by her loved ones, Taylor worked as a full time emergency room technician for the University of Louisville Hospital and was working as an essential worker throughout the pandemic.

“She was a better version of me. Full of life. Easy to love,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mom, to the New York Times.

Taylor’s shooting quickly fueled outrage in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and eventually gained attention worldwide. The news of her death broke around the same time as the unfortunate death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nine minutes. Chauvin was fired the day after Floyd’s death.

Protestors gathered in masses around the world, chanting phrases such as “Say her name,” “Justice for Breonna” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Many Black women saw themselves in her and felt it their duty to fight for the officers who shot her to be arrested and charged.

“I look at Breonna Taylor and see me,’’ said Jade Ford, a first year kinesiology major at HU. It scares me to live in a place where I am not seen as human or equal. Her death was a huge disappointment for black women.”

Taylor’s family received a settlement of $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville Sept. 15. The settlement is the largest in history for the death of a Black woman by cops, according to lawyer Ben Crump. In addition to the payment, the settlement included changes in policy with respect to police conduct in Louisville.

Despite the settlement, none of the police officers involved were charged until Sept. 23, when a grand jury indicted Officer Brent Hankinson with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for endangering Taylor’s neighbors the night she was shot.

Mattingly and Cosgrove, the other two officers involved, faced no charges, but all three officers involved in the shooting have all been terminated, according to the Louisville police.

Cameron has received backlash for the way he handled the case. In a press conference, Cameron stated that John Mattingly and Miles Cosgrove were justified in returning shots to Taylor’s boyfriend. Because of this, he decided not to recommend homicide charges against any of the officers involved.

Activists demand more serious counts of charges for the officers as demonstrators have come together in Louisville to protest.

“We’re going to keep marching, keep stepping, but we’re going to do it together as one,” said Chris Wells, a local activist in Louisville.

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