On September 25, 2020, hundreds marched through the streets of Boston, demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old black medical worker, was shot and killed by Louisville police officers who forcefully entered her apartment on March 13, 2020. Ms. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in Ms. Taylor’s apartment when, around midnight, they heard banging on the door. They called out, asking who it was, and received no answer, so when the door was broken down and one of the officers, Jonathan Mattingly, barged into the apartment, they feared the man was an intruder. Acting on this fear, Mr. Walker fired his gun, hitting Mattingly in the leg. In response, the three officers fired a total of 32 shots, striking Ms. Taylor 6 times and ending her life.
The officers aided their wounded colleague but offered Ms. Taylor no medical attention. It wasn’t until 5 minutes after the shooting–when Mr. Walker called 911–that emergency personnel realized her fatal condition.
“I don’t know what’s happening,” Mr. Walker said on a recorded call to 911. “Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
The police had been investigating two men they believed were selling drugs and were granted a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s apartment, as they suspected that one of the men had been using the site to receive packages. Ms. Taylor had dated the man in the past, but had severed ties with him. She had no involvement in the drug trade, and when her apartment was searched, no drugs were found.
On June 23, one of the officers at the scene, Brett Hankinson, was fired from the LMPD for firing shots blindly from outside the apartment. On September 15, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Ms. Taylor’s mother and to reform police practices. On the 23rd of that month, a state grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for endangering a neighbor of Taylor with his shots.
None of the officers involved in the raid were charged with the murder of Breonna Taylor.
This event led to outrage among the American people and to protests across the country. This particular protest, in Boston, occurred two days after the jury decided that the officers would not be charged directly with Ms. Taylor’s death.
The crowd first gathered to listen to speakers outside Roxbury’s Nubian Square and then marched through the city, stopping briefly to chant in front of the police headquarters. They then made their way towards Peter’s Park (a symbolic spot, near where Boston police shot and killed Terrance Coleman in 2016) and finally, to City Hall, where they chanted in anger and despair over the unjust and corrupt police department, the blatant racism that is still so deeply ingrained in the system of the United States, and for the life of Breonna Taylor, which ended far too soon.