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Call for justice, reforms continue a year after US police killing of Black nurse in Kentucky

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People attend a rally on Saturday, March 13, 2021 to mark one year since police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor when they entered her home, in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Reuters)

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday a year after Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman, was shot six times and killed by White police officers.

The 26-year-old emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse was killed in her Louisville home during a botched drug raid on March 13, 2020.

Officers broke down her door and opened fire, shooting 32 rounds after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them once, saying later he had thought they were intruders.

No homicide charges were brought against the three officers involved in her death. Only officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment.

All the three officers were fired by the police department.

Although her death went largely unrecognized at first, once more people took notice, demonstrations rocked the downtown area during the summer and fall as protestors demanded justice.

During Saturday’s rally, speakers called for justice for Taylor and reforms to the US criminal justice system.

“This is about our power to change this world for our children, for my daughter,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League. “This is so we make sure that not another person dies at the hands of the police.”

As demonstrators were marching through downtown Louisville, they were chanting “Black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace” while waving signs showing Taylor’s face.

Protesters gathered in downtown Louisville on Saturday. (Photo via The New York Times)

Activists are hopeful that the first anniversary of her death will further bring about a promising surge of civic engagement.

“What happened to Breonna Taylor has shaped every aspect of our lives,” said Charles Booker, a former state representative for Louisville. “Her door being kicked in was our door being kicked in. It really has transformed everything.”

Meanwhile, Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher said the city has made reforms in policies and priorities, but admitted that there was still “a good deal of work ahead.”

Taylor’s “death resonates still in our city and around the world, underscoring the need to reform systems and act more urgently to advance racial justice and equity,” he said on Twitter.

The incident, along with the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, sparked mass protests against racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country last summer.

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