The significance of March 2020 will go down in the history books. Not simply for being the month, the world realized we had entered into a global pandemic with the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, but also because a young woman’s life was taken in Louisville, Kentucky.
On March 13, 2020, the life of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old first responder, was killed in a hail of bullets by the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD). The botched police operation was in search of another suspect 10 miles away from Ms. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker’s apartment. A banging on their front door in the late hours of the night followed by unknown individuals bursting into their apartment was reason enough for Mr. Walker to protect his home and his girlfriend by firing a single warning shot. The single-shot got him arrested and Ms. Taylor killed. However, the six shots that killed Ms. Taylor were not enough for anyone to be charged with her murder. One former LMPD officer, Jonathan Hankerson, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment. THAT’S IT! No manslaughter or murder charges for the life of a 26-year old who was in her home, not breaking the law. Kentucky is a “Stand Your Ground” state, meaning individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home.
So please, take a few minutes to think about what happened. Breonna Taylor was killed by plains clothes police officers, in her own home, in the middle of the night, unarmed but protected by her boyfriend in a Stand Your Ground state. No justice has been served.
This one case is bad enough, but Black women are far too frequently harassed, injured, or killed at the hands of those who take an oath to protect and serve. According to the Washington Post, since 2015 the police have fatally shot nearly 250 women, 89 of those women were killed in their home or residence. Included in this number is the tragic case of Korryn Gaines in Baltimore County in 2016.
On Wednesday, March 17, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum will host“Do You See Me: The Injustice of Breonna Taylor and black Women” at 7 p.m. ET. Panelists include Dr. Kimberly R. Moffitt; Dr. Vesla Mae Weaver; Thenjiwe McHarris and Dr. Kali-Ahset Amen. You can register on our website at lewismuseum.org.
No justice, no peace…know justice, know peace.
Terri Lee Freeman