In addition to calling for criminal charges to be brought against three Louisville Metro Police Department officers, who have not been fired, Beyoncé implored Cameron to “commit to transparency in the investigation and prosecution” of the officers’ conduct. She also requested he investigate the police department’s response to the fatal incident as well as the “pervasive practices that result in the repeated deaths of unarmed Black citizens.”
The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office could not be reached for comment late Sunday, but a spokesperson told CNN that the office is aware of Beyoncé's letter.
“As the letter makes requests related to the ongoing investigation involving the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor, we have no further comment,” the office said in a statement.
The letter comes after members of Louisville’s city council unanimously voted last Thursday to ban local law enforcement from using “no-knock” warrants that allow officers to enter homes unannounced, calling the bill “Breonna’s Law.” That day, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced plans to introduce federal legislation that would make no-knock warrants illegal in almost every jurisdiction nationwide.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was studying to be a nurse, was asleep when plainclothes officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department entered her home shorty after midnight March 13 to execute a no-knock drug warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend, who lived with her, said he did not realize the officers were law enforcement and fired one shot at them, striking a police sergeant in the leg. Officers returned fire and shot Taylor at least eight times, killing her.
Protests have since erupted in Louisville over the shooting, coinciding with a larger national movement decrying racism and police brutality that followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis. Floyd was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground.
On Sunday, as demonstrations continued, Beyoncé argued in her letter that the latest efforts to address Taylor’s death were not enough.
“Three months have passed — and zero arrests have been made, and no officers have been fired,” Beyoncé wrote.
The treatment of the officers in Taylor’s case contrasts what has happened to others who have been involved in recent fatal encounters with people of color.
Four officers at the scene of Floyd’s arrest in Minneapolis last month were swiftly fired and now face criminal charges. Derek Chauvin, who was seen on video pinning Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck, has been charged with second- and third-degree murder. The three other former officers were charged with felony aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
During the weekend, Garrett Rolfe, an Atlanta Police Department officer, was fired after he shot and killed Rayshard Brooks on Friday during a confrontation following a DUI stop. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Brooks’s cause of death was “gunshot wounds of the back,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.
Beyoncé also criticized the Louisville police department’s investigation of Taylor’s death, writing that official probes “have created more questions than answers.”
Last week, the department released an incident report on the shooting that included few details, some of which were incorrect, according to the Associated Press. The mostly blank report, which in part listed Taylor’s injuries as “none,” fueled outrage against the department and prompted a rebuke from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D), who called the document “unacceptable,” the AP reported.
Beyoncé concluded her letter with a pointed message to Cameron, who is Kentucky’s first African American attorney general.
“Don’t let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy,” she wrote. “With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers. The next months cannot look like the last three.”
A copy of the letter was published on Beyoncé's website and includes links to two petitions supporting justice for Taylor.
In a statement to The Washington Post from attorney Lonita Baker, Taylor’s family expressed gratitude to Beyoncé on Sunday, noting she and “many powerful women have used their platforms to call for Justice for Breonna.”
“It is time that our elected leaders, including Mayor Greg Fischer and AG Daniel Cameron, stop hiding behind the guise of a botched investigation and do the right thing,” the statement said.