Statement on Tragic Death of Breonna Taylor
New York—On March 13, Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville, KY apartment by police officers. Her family has recently hired lawyer Benjamin Crump to represent them in a lawsuit against three officers alleging wrongful death, excessive force, and gross negligence. In response to the tragic news, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns released the following statement:
“Breonna Taylor was murdered by Louisville, Kentucky police officers who broke into her home and shot her eight times while in the process of serving a search warrant. Not that it should matter, because each of us should have the opportunity to due process regardless of our educational, professional, or social accomplishments, but Breonna was a decorated Emergency Medical Technician. Breonna committed no crime, posed no immediate threat to the safety of the officers who murdered her, and did not attempt to evade or resist arrest prior to being repeatedly shot and killed. Police officers fired more than 20 rounds into Breonna’s home. Bullets struck in a number of rooms throughout her home and even into the adjacent unit where a pregnant mother was with her 5-year-old child. I want to know why. I need to know why.
“Why are Black people being murdered in their homes and in the street by police officers, both state sanctioned officers and self-appointed vigilantes, often without impunity, or arrests?
“Why are Black people still being blamed for their deaths? The reflexive habit of media and law enforcement officials sharing videos, transcripts, and rumors that seek to besmirch the reputation or otherwise justify violence against Black bodies is banal, it’s offensive, and it reflects the reality that in America while there is one justice system the way that Black people often experience a lack of justice is unique and consistent.
“Breonna Taylor was 26 years old when she was murdered in her home by police officers. Ahmaud Arbury would have celebrated his 26th birthday just last Friday if he had not been murdered by vigilantes for jogging while black. Trayvon Martin would have been 26 years old this year if he had not been murdered by a convictionless George Zimmerman.
“No one among us wins when we play oppression Olympics; however, the Black feminist in me has to know why we don’t seem to experience the same level of pain or respond in pubic with the same energy when its Black women and girls who are victimized? Why are Black women and girls continuing to die in relative silence? Black women comprise less than 10 percent of the U.S. population but are more than 30 percent of all women killed by the police. Why?
“With the exception of a few articles written by mostly Black media outlets there has been little attention paid to the tragic events that ended Breonna Taylor’s young life. If it weren’t for Feminista Jones (Michelle Taylor) posting about Breonna on social media and Ben Crump, an NBJC board member being retained by the Taylor family, few people might be talking about Breonna this week.
“Fannie Lou Hamer reminded us some time ago that none of us will be free unless and until all of us are free. While working to ensure racial equity for the diverse members of the Black community we must keep the same energy when it comes to advocating for justice for Black women and girls.
“Call to Action: Call the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (502-574-7111) , Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher (502-574-2003), and Commonwealth Attorney Thomas Wine (502-595-2300) to release any and all 911 tapes and to fire, arrest, and charge those involved. Share information about what happened to Breonna Taylor to ensure the communal call for justice grows louder and stronger.”