On March 13, 2020 just before 1 am, Louisville police officers executed a “no-knock” search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation at the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old EMT. Breonna and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were watching a movie when they heard aggressive banging at the door. Despite repeatedly asking who was at the door, they did not hear an announcement that it was the police before the front door flew off its hinges. Believing that intruders were trying to break in, Walker fired a warning shot that struck an officer in the leg. In response, police opened fire, blindly shooting more than 20 rounds into the apartment with a “total disregard for the value of human life”, according to a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s neighbor. There were bullet holes everywhere, including in a neighboring apartment where a young child lived. Taylor was shot at least eight times, and was pronounced dead at the scene. A subsequent search of Taylor's apartment found no drugs.
Almost three months after her death, a highly inaccurate and nearly blank incident report was released by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD). Despite the fact that Ms. Taylor had been shot at least 8 times, the report listed her injuries as “none” and indicated that officers had not forced their way into the apartment, even though they used a battering ram to knock down the door. To this day, no charges have been brought against the officers involved in the killing.
164 days have passed since Breonna Taylor’s untimely death. The unanswered calls for justice, the scant media coverage her case initially received, and the egregious lack of transparency surrounding the investigation highlight the undeniable and blatant disregard for Black women murdered by law enforcement.
The #BlackLivesMatter Movement was created in 2013 by three black women - Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors - as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Throughout history, Black women have fought on the front lines against police brutality and systemic racism and oppression with little to no recognition.
Unsurprisingly, their stories remain largely overshadowed and overlooked in the nationwide conversation surrounding racial profiling, police brutality, and deadly force. Their killings often do not garner national attention, community response is more muted, demands for justice transform into comical memes and their stories are forced out of the spotlight and ultimately ignored through hashtags such as #SayTheirName and #SayHisName. This predicament can prove detrimental to the welfare of Black women, as the deliberate erasure of their voices and absence of media attention surrounding their cases inherently perpetuate the false narrative that Black women cannot be victims of racialized police violence and that their deaths do not merit repercussions. We, the Young Democrats of South Carolina, strongly condemn the marginalization, derision or erasure of Black women who are victims of police brutality, negligence and/or misconduct.
We must cease to uphold and work to actively dismantle the systems of oppression that place more value on the lives of heterosexual, cisgender men - rendering women, queer and transgender people invisibile in the fight to end anti-Black racism and state-sanctioned violence. ALL Black lives matter.
Sandra Bland. Rekia Boyd. Korryn Gaines. Mya Hall. Tanisha Anderson. Atatiana Jefferson. Tarika Wilson. Shantel Davis. Miriam Carey. Kayla Moore. Natasha McKenna. Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Shelly Frey. Michelle Cusseaux... May we never forget them and may we continue to fight so that Breonna Taylor’s name does not join the long list of black women and girls murdered by police without justice or accountability.
YDSC echoes the calls for justice around the nation for Breonna Taylor. We also demand that John Mattingly, Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, and any other law enforcement officer involved in her murder be arrested and charged immediately. We ask that her family be paid in damages due to the wrongful death of Ms.Taylor and the negligence of the LMPD. Furthermore, we call on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to focus solely on investigating the LMPD and the troubling circumstances surrounding the handling of Ms. Taylor’s case in a fair and uncompromising manner. To ensure transparency, it is of utmost importance that upon conclusion of the investigation, the public and Breonna Taylor’s family have full access to the case findings.
We also call upon the municipal elected officials, South Carolina House Democratic Caucus, and the South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus, to create and advocate for fair and inclusive legislation concerning legal protection for protesters, community policing, and the myriad of racial inequalities within our state.
YDSC stands in solidarity with peaceful protesters fighting to keep Breonna’s memory alive. We offer our support to protesters and supporters all over our country and also to the family of Breonna Taylor and the Louisville community. We will release information through social media regarding various events and initiatives regarding our involvement in this fight. #SayHerName
Ways you can help:
Governor Andy Beshear
700 Capitol Ave, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Mayor Greg Fischer
527 W. Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
700 Capital Ave, Suite 118
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Louisville Metro Council
601 W. Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
LMPD Public Integrity Unit
3672 Taylor Boulevard
Louisville, KY 40215
Signed, YDSC Executive Board and Executive Council Members
Jeni Atchley, MPA/MSCJ, YDSC President, Dorchester County
Charles Fricke, YDSC 1st Vice President, Richland County
Kevin Eckert, YDSC 2nd Vice President, Sumter County
Shadae Boakye-Yiadom, YDSC Secretary, Greenville County
Micah Jenkins, YDSC Treasurer, Anderson County
Breanna Spaulding, YDSC National Committee Member, Richland County
Phillip Ford, YDSC National Committee Member, Orangeburg County
ErNiko Brown, YDSC Deputy Chief of Staff, Greenwood County
Gerrick Sands, YDSC Data Director, Dorchester County
McKenzie Waston, YDSC Women’s Caucus Chair, Richland County
Camden Johnson, YDSC Progressive Caucus Chair, Greenville County
Dr. Jermaine Johnson, YDSC Black Caucus Chair, Richland County
Michael McCord, YDSC LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair, Greenville County
Eric Manning, II, Lowcountry Young Democrats Chair, Charleston County
Erica Edmondson, Young Democrats of Greenville County Chair, Greenville County
Quanisea Moses, Young Democrats of Florence County Chair, Florence County
Adrian Obleton, Aiken County Young Democrats Chair, Aiken County
Candice Caldwell, Orangeburg Calhoun Young Democrats Chair, Orangeburg County
Jitwan Floyd, Young Democrats of Greenwood Chair, Greenwood County
Moses Terrell Pyatt, Sumter-Clarendon Young Democrats Chair, Sumter County
Ryan Arioli, York County Young Democrats Chair, York County
Thaddeus Smith, Young Democrats of Jasper County Chair, Jasper County
Chip Jenkins, Young Democrats of Beaufort County Chair, Beaufort County
Brandon Counts, Young Democrats of Horry County Chair, Horry County
Jennifer Bolt, Young Democrats of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens County Chair, Pickens County
Hirak Pati, Esq., Young Democrats of Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties Chair, Spartanburg County