On Tuesday, a large group of people marched to the home of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to protest the fact that the officers who killed Breonna Taylor have not yet been arrested and charged. Eighty-seven protesters, dressed in white shirts, occupied A.G. Cameron’s lawn, peacefully sitting down to hold their space. According to a police statement sent to Refinery29, they were arrested and charged with felonies; among those arrested were Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams, NFL player Kenny Stills, activists and Until Freedom co-founders Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour, and Love and Hip-Hop star Yandy Smith.
Taylor was killed on March 13 when officers entered her home unannounced and fired more than 20 rounds into the apartment while she was sleeping in her bed. Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in Taylor’s death (and who has been accused by at least two women of sexual assault), was fired June 23. The two other officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on administrative leave. “No-knock warrants” like the one that allowed officers to enter Taylor’s home have been banned in the wake of her death, but so far, none of her killers have been charged.
The lack of accountability for the officers who killed Taylor has been the subject of continued pressure and outrage. From the #BirthdayForBreonna campaign to the memes that have taken over social media, pressure has been sustained on the Louisville Police Department and A.G. Cameron to charge the three men (though some activists wonder if calling for abolishing the police and prisons while demanding people be arrested is a contradiction).
“Due to their refusal to leave the property and their attempts to influence the decision of the Attorney General with their actions, each person was charged with Intimidating a Participant in a Legal Process (Class D felony), Disorderly Conduct 2nd Degree (Class B misdemeanor), and Criminal Trespass 3rd Degree. (Violation),” the LMPD said in a statement.
Cameron’s office is investigating Taylor’s death and the actions of the LMPD officers that night. In a statement to WLKY, Cameron said they will “continue with a thorough and fair investigation.”
“The stated goal of today’s protest at my home was to ‘escalate’,” Cameron’s statement continued. “That is not acceptable and only serves to further division and tension within our community. Justice is not achieved by trespassing on private property, and it’s not achieved through escalation. It’s achieved by examining the facts in an impartial and unbiased manner.”
But activists argue differently, that escalation and disruption are the means to apply pressure towards achieving their goals. “We will not allow him to continue to delay this process in hopes that the protesters will go away, in hopes that the national attention on Breonna Taylor will go away,” Linda Sarsour told WLKY.
The protest was alluded to on social media last week when Until Freedom posted a flier, along with a landing page on their website dedicated to seeking justice for Taylor. “Time to escalate. It’s been 116+ days since #BreonnaTaylor was murdered by the Louisville Police,” the org tweeted. “Not one single police officer has been held accountable. Time to put our bodies on the line. See you in Louisville next week.”
High-profile protestors made good on the promise to fight for justice at any cost. Kenny Stills, a wide receiver for the Houston Texans, was one of the NFL players who joined Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality. At the time, Stills was a player for the Miami Dolphins and was committed to speaking up about racial injustice. Tamika D. Mallory and Sarsour are best known as co-founders of the Women’s March. Also arrested was the president of the Minnesota NAACP, Leslie E. Redmond.
President @leslieeredmond was wrongfully arrested for demanding justice for Breonna Taylor by Louisville Police. Call 502-735-1784 and demand they charge the officers who killed Breonna and Free Leslie Now! #justiceforbreonnataylor pic.twitter.com/5mo0aHihE3
— Minneapolis NAACP (@NAACPmpls) July 15, 2020
“We believe that our action today will send a pressure point to the administration that they have to move quickly,” Sarsour said, “and that if they don’t move quickly, we will come with triple and quadruple the number of people we will have today.”
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