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87 People Face Felony Charges for a Sit-In for Breonna Taylor While Her Killers Remain Free

On Tuesday, 87 protesters in Louisville, Kentucky were arrested after a demonstration outside the Kentucky Attorney General’s house to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. Meanwhile, none of the cops who murdered Taylor have been arrested.

Otto Fors

July 16, 2020
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On Tuesday, protesters in Louisville, Kentucky demonstrated outside Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s home to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. Although the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor have not been arrested, 87 protesters were detained and charged with trespassing and intimidation. These are felony charges, punishable with up to five years in prison. Officials are eager to detain and repress protesters, but refuse to hold the killer cops accountable.

On March 13, police officers used a battering ram to enter the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26 year-old EMT. They were executing a no-knock search warrant as part of a drug investigation, and entered her apartment without warning and without announcing themselves as police officers — the officers were dressed in plainclothes. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 and used his licensed firearm to shoot at the intruders. The police then fired more than 20 rounds, shooting Taylor eight times.

Interviews later revealed that the suspect in the drug investigation was already in custody when officers entered her apartment. The Louisiana Metro Police Department (LMPD) also released a baffling report — the report is mostly blank, lists her injuries as “none,” says that there was “no” forced entry, and does not describe the events that occurred. 

As the Black Lives Matter movement returned to center stage with the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor also also became an important figure as a Black woman killed by police brutality. Around the country, and especially in Kentucky, people are demanding the arrest of the police who perpetrated this act of police terror. In the past months of mobilization, 437 people have been arrested for protesting against Taylor’s murder. No one has been arrested for murdering her. 

The demonstration on Tuesday was organized by Until Freedom, a social justice group founded by activist Linda Sarsour, among others. Over 100 protesters marched to Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s house from a local high school to demand the arrest of the cops who murdered Taylor. A video posted on Twitter shows protesters chanting, “Say her name: Breonna Taylor!” while sitting on his front lawn. 

Cameron and the police requested that protesters leave his property. After refusing to do so, according to the LMPD, “in total 87 people were arrested… due to their refusal to leave the property and their attempts to influence the decision of the Attorney General.” By Wednesday evening, all 87 protesters had been released, but now face charges of intimidating a participant in a legal process, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespassing. 

Cameron released a statement criticizing the protest, claiming that his office is continuing to investigate Taylor’s death, and that the protests were an unacceptable attempt at escalation. “[Justice is] achieved by examining the facts in an impartial and unbiased manner,” he wrote, though his office has so far failed to provide justice for Breonna Taylor and refused to hold the police accountable.  

None of the officers have been arrested — instead, authorities have repeatedly protected them. All three cops were initially placed on administrative leave, and after more than three months, just one officer was fired. In other words, zero people have been charged with murdering Breonna Taylor, while 87 have received felony charges for protesting her murder. 

The murder of Breonna Taylor demonstrates that the so-called criminal justice system does not provide any justice at all, but rather upholds white supremacy and protects police. While cops act with impunity, Black people are brutalized and murdered, and those that demand justice are arrested. The killer cops should be jailed, and we must continue to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and other Black people whom police have murdered. 

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Otto Fors

Otto is a college professor in the New York area.

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