Breonna Taylor: Will Justice Ever Be Served?

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(Photo/ACLU of Louisiana)

Nazareth Mehreteab, Online Features Editor

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed at the hands of Louisville, Kentucky police officers this past March. Taylor was shot multiple times in her own home in what has been reported as a “botched raid,” and the circumstances of her death have sparked great controversy across our nation. Recently, a grand jury did not impose murder charges for the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death. Instead, it indicted former police officer Brent Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment, but no murder charges. Additionally, no charges were passed for the other two officers involved: Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly. This verdict has led to protests and civil unrest in cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston. In Louisville, Kentucky, over 500 protesters marched, chanting “This is what democracy looks like,” to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. 

Many have linked the death of Taylor to the countless other black people who have died at the hands of white police officers, such as George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Atatiana Jefferson. This connection, consequently, sheds light on the larger issues of systemic racism and police brutality in America. The question remains: will justice be served?

Sophomore Zoe Latanision shared that “what happened with Breonna Taylor was something that no one should have to ever go through. It’s horrible how [it took] something as drastic as that for racism to be brought to the forefront of people’s minds more than it has in the past.” Latanision added, “We need to avenge her, and we must never let her be forgotten.” Junior Mehak Dhaliwal noted as well, “the Breonna Taylor verdict is extremely disappointing and representative of a broken, clearly racist justice system. So many like Breonna Taylor have died and been hurt unfairly and never received the justice they deserved, regardless of the media attention that might surround their names. This clearly shows how unfairly the justice system treats the black community.” 

The city of Louisville is taking action to address anti-racism. Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, has proposed many reforms, such as a housing credit program and an incentive system for police officers. Attorney Lonika Baker mentioned, “justice for Breonna Taylor is multilayered. What we were able to accomplish today [with the new police reforms] was tremendous but is only a portion of a single layer.” Attorney Benjamin Crump further this sentiment saying, “It had been so long getting to this day where we could assure that Breonna Taylor’s life wouldn’t be swept under the rug like so many other Black women who have been killed by police.” Crump added, “We still are demanding that Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron bring charges immediately against the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor.” 

Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Lonika Baker share the frustration and anger that many members of the PDS community are feeling as a result of Breonna Taylor’s unfair verdict. 

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