Protests in US for anniversary of Breonna Taylor death turn violent

Police attack protestors at a police brutality march in Los Angeles
Police attack protestors at a police brutality march in Los Angeles Photo credit: Twitter

Thousands of people have turned out across America, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death. 

Taylor, an African-American 26-year-old emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse, was fatally shot six times by police in her Louisville home during a botched raid on March 13, 2020.

Despite the peaceful gathering, protests in Los Angeles turned violent as police began to target those in attendance. 

According to social media, two protestors were run over by Police in LA, and people were shot at from point blank range. 

Protestors in LA can also be seen chasing the car as it was fleeing the scene, with others confronting nearby officers.

"One of your guys just ran somebody over, are you f***ing kidding me right now?" a woman can be heard saying to the officers.

 Another video shows protestors fighting back at Police, with one officer being hit with what appears to be a microwave or AC unit.

"Ppl asking why the protesters who got hit by LAPD's car jumped on the hood... uh... cuz when you're getting hit by a car YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE UNDER IT," Vishal Singh wrote on Twitter. 

A grand jury in September recommended no homicide charges against the three white officers in the case. One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbor's apartment, and a juror said later those charges were the only ones brought to the grand jury by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Hankison and two other officers were fired by the police department.

The incident, along with the police killing in May of George Floyd in Minnesota, sparked demonstrations against racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement across the nation last summer.

Hundreds also gathered in Louisville, Kentucky where the incident took place. 

During Saturday's rally in Louisville, speakers called for justice for Taylor and reforms to the 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."

Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker also spoke briefly to the crowd.

"They dropped the charges against me, but that is not where we finish," he said, referring to charges that were filed and later dismissed against him for shooting at the police officers during the incident. "We got to keep going. Keep going."

Demonstrators then marched through downtown Louisville, chanting "Black lives matter" and "no justice, no peace" while waving signs showing Taylor's face.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher said his city has made significant reforms in policies and priorities, but 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.

Walker filed a federal lawsuit against the police department on Friday, one of his lawyers said. It alleges that the officers violated Walker's civil rights by conducting an unlawful search and using excessive force. A police department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Louisville in September agreed to pay $12 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by Taylor's family.

Protests were held in other cities across the United States on Saturday to mark Taylor's death, including in Atlanta and New York. President Joe Biden said on Twitter that he remains committed to signing a police reform bill into law.

"Breonna Taylor's death was a tragedy, a blow to her family, her community, and America. As we continue to mourn her, we must press ahead to pass meaningful police reform in Congress," he wrote.