Beyoncé demands justice for Breonna Taylor, the Black woman killed in her sleep by police, in impassioned letter to attorney general
Beyoncé has joined growing calls for Breonna Taylor’s killers to be charged with her murder, sending an open letter to the Kentucky attorney general.
Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police who entered her home in Louisville, Kentucky while she sleeping on March 13. She was 26 years old.
Three months on and the officers involved in her death remain employed, and have not faced any consequences despite intensifying demands for justice.
In an open letter addressed to Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, Beyoncé joined these calls. She wrote: “Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison must be held accountable for their actions.”
She called for criminal charges to be brought against all three; for the attorney general to “commit to transparency in the investigation and prosecution of these officers’ criminal conduct”; and for an investigation into the Louisville police’s conduct both in response to Taylor’s death, and “the pervasive practices that result in the repeated deaths of unarmed Black citizens”.
Beyoncé joins growing calls for police to explain what happened to Breonna Taylor.
“There months have passed,” the star continued, “and Breonna Taylor’s family still waits for justice. [The] family has not been able to take time to process and grieve. Instead, they have been working tirelessly to tally the support of friends, their community and the country to obtain justice for Breonna.”
Beyoncé’s intervention comes shortly after a “Breonna’s Law” was passed in Louisville banning “no knock” police warrants.
The 26-year-old EMT was killed during a drugs raid on her apartment conducted under such a warrant. She was not a suspect in the case and no drugs were found on the premises.
Police began shooting after Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, fired his weapon, believing that he was witnessing a home invasion. They responded with 20 shots, eight of which struck Taylor.
Authorities claim to have announced themselves before breaking down Taylor’s door with a battering ram, but this has been disputed by family and neighbours. This is one of many uncertainties which remain.
Breonna Taylor police report lists her injuries as ‘none’.
A police report released by Louisville police on June 10 contains virtually no new details about the killing, and insultingly, lists Taylor’s injuries as “none”.
Louisville mayor Greg Fischer condemned the report as “unacceptable… full stop” and apologised to Taylor’s family.
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The investigation has been turned over to the attorney general’s office, along with the US attorney general and the FBI.
Noting this, Beyoncé implored Cameron – Kentucky’s first Black attorney general – to “demonstrate the value of a Black woman’s life”.
“Three months have passed – and the LMPD investigations have created more questions than answers,” she wrote.
“Your office has both the power and the responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor.”
The singer has become a vocal advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement, and recently used a “Dear Class of 2020” graduation ceremony to congratulate all those fighting for change.