They are right to be afraid. We are doing our work of justice in Taylor’s name.
As Kentucky’s only female Black legislator, and as the mother of two children near Breonna’s age, I have more than a vested interest in this case. I feel it in my bones. I have taken part in marches and rallies, breathed in tear gas and been accused — ridiculously and falsely — by the Louisville Metro Police Department of trying to burn down a treasured library in my own district.
The charges against me were an effort to silence me. It is a page from the same playbook of erasure and silencing that has been used against Taylor.
We saw this playbook in action in March when LMPD officers felt no need to render aid to Taylor as she lay dying in her own hallway as a victim of a home invasion by police that never should have happened. We saw it in the LMPD’s attempt to dehumanize Taylor when it told the public — without evidence — that she was a “suspect” in a narcotics case.
And we saw it as the investigation into the events that led to Taylor’s death took months, and as protests in her name were met with unnecessary curfews, rubber bullets and tear gas from the very people who have sworn to serve and protect us. We saw it as our own governor called in the National Guard, whose bullets took the life of David McAtee, another bright soul in our community.
The latest attempt to erase Taylor’s life and legacy came last month from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who couldn’t bring himself to fight for true justice for Taylor before a grand jury. On Wednesday, Cameron filed a motion to gag a juror seeking the right to speak publicly about distortions in the attorney general’s presentation of the grand jury’s findings.
Another attempted silencing.
We answer this effort by the powerful with raised voices. For more than 130 days, we have stood vigil in the heart of our city, demanding that Taylor’s death not be in vain. We want her killers held accountable. We want change in policies, practices and procedures that would keep tragedies like hers from happening again.
So far, our demands on behalf of Taylor have not been met. No officer faces a single charge tied to her death, and only one has been fired from his job. The judge who signed the initial no-knock search warrant has questioned whether she was misled. The FBI quietly continues an investigation that we hope will have our country do what our commonwealth would not.
Breonna Taylor’s voice was stolen from her, but we will not allow her to be erased. To do my part, with the help of Taylor’s family and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, I have proposed “Breonna’s Law” to seek sensible criminal justice solutions that should have been law all along.
“Breonna’s Law” would expand Louisville’s recent ban on no-knock search warrants statewide and make sure judges determine whether violent entry to serve a warrant is necessary.
“Breonna’s Law” would require all law enforcement to wear — and activate — body cameras when carrying out search warrants, and it would impose severe penalties if officers don’t comply. It would also require officers to undergo alcohol and drug testing following any shooting or otherwise deadly incident while on duty.
“Breonna’s Law” will be considered when the next state legislative session begins in January. I am grateful to the good people who have already provided so much support — 11 legislative co-sponsors and 3,600 community co-sponsors. As activists and leaders on the front lines for justice for Taylor, our resolve to sustain this movement is unbound.
We cannot bring her back, but we can make sure that her name lives on — and that her legacy leads us to justice. May it ring in our ears forever. Breonna Taylor.