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Breonna Taylor must not be forgotten. The family of the 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March, released a statement encouraging peaceful protests and the continued fight for justice.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear read the statement from Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on CNN on Friday (May 29).
“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile, and to bringing people together,” the statement reads. “The last thing she’d want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it’s not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna’s legacy will not be forgotten. And it’s because of all of us saying her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you.
“Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let’s do it the right way without hurting each other. We can, and we will make some real change here. Now’s the time. Let’s make it happen.”
Seven people were shot during a protest for Taylor in Louisville on Thursday (May 28). The shooting victims were treated and are in stable condition, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Fisher also reposted a video message from Taylor’s family urging peace amid the protests.
A message from Breonna Taylor’s family urging protestors to be peaceful, go home and keep fighting for truth. pic.twitter.com/if5MH5UcCW
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) May 29, 2020
On March 13, 2020, Louisville police officers kicked in Taylor’s door without warning and opened fire. Authorities claim that they were executing a “no-knock” search warrant stemming from an alleged drug investigation involving another man who did not live in Taylor’s home, and had already been arrested.
“Police just unloaded 25 to 30 rounds, I mean they’re shooting from the front door, they’re shooting from the window, they’re shooting from the patio,” attorney Benjamin Crump told Essence on Friday. “They’re so reckless, they shoot a bullet into the next door neighbor’s apartment where their five-year-old daughter is asleep in her room. “They didn’t even have to come in her [Taylor's] apartment. They already had the person they were searching for in custody.”
Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD accusing the department of excessive force and gross negligence. In wake of Taylor’s murder going public, LMPD has changed its policy and will now require no-knock warrants to have a police chief’s signature. The department also made it mandatory for LMPD officers to wear body cameras.
A 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after the shooting was made public on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s happening somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker can be heard saying through tears. Police arrested Walker for shooting at cops whom he assumed were robbers. The charges were later dropped.
Listen to the emotional 911 call below.
Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested for the murder of George Floyd on Friday (May 29), Hennepin County D.A. Mike Freeman confirmed at a press conference.
“Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder and with manslaughter. He has been charged with third-degree murder,” said Freeman.
“There could be more charges later. The investigation is ongoing. We felt it important to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator,” Freeman said when asked if the three additional fired MPD officers will be charged in Floyd’s murder. The third-degree murder charge suggests that Chauvin had no intent to kill Floyd. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Chauvin's arrest follows three days of protests in an around Minneapolis. On Thursday (May 28), the MPD’s third precinct went up in flames.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct has been set on fire pic.twitter.com/h85rjffLgc
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 29, 2020
“We have never charged a case in that time frame. We can only prove a case when we have substantial evidence,” added Freeman who maintained that the timing of the arrest was a result of a final piece of evidence, although he refused to go into detail. “We have now been able to put together the evidence that we needed. Folks, I’m not gonna’ talk specifically about this piece of evidence, or that piece of evidence. You will see.”
Freeman did however state the that evidence collected in the case includes citizen video, officer body cam footage, witness statements, and a “preliminary report” from the medical examiner.
Chauvin was the officer filmed jamming his knee into Floyd’s neck as he gasped for air and pleaded, “Please! Please! I can’t breathe!”
The fatal incident unfolded on Monday (May 25) afternoon. Police were called to Cup Food grocery store after Floyd allegedly tried to use a fraudulent $20 bill. MPD claimed that Floyd resisted arrest but a security camera recording shows him walking calmly in handcuffs while being escorted to a patrol car by an MPD officer.
Video footage release by store owner who stated George did not resist arrest as stated on the police report #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatters pic.twitter.com/aqFzkPmnEp
— Que ™ (@RealQDaKidd) May 27, 2020
Additional footage, recorded by a teenage bystander, captured Floyd's last few minutes alive. Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Chauvin may have already known Floyd as they both worked security for the Minneapolis club, El Nueva Rodeo.
The family of George Floyd are demanding justice after the 46 year old was killed by Minneapolis police earlier in the week. Floyd’s cousin and brothers want the four officers involved to be arrested and convicted of murder.
“We need to see justice happen,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CBS This Morning. “This was clearly murder. We want to see them arrested. We want to see them charged, we want to see them convicted. He did not deserve what happened to him.”
In reactions to the Floyd's murder, tens of thousands of people took to the street in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.
“I don’t want the protests to just be for show. I want to see action,” continued Brown. “I want to see these people pay for what they did. We need to hold them accountable.”
Floyd was described as an “amazing” person who was well loved and “never did anything” to anyone. “Everybody loved my brother. I just don’t understand why people want to hurt people, killed people, they didn’t have to do that to my brother,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd.
Two of the four officers involved have been identified as Tou Thao, and Derek Chauvin, the latter of whom is the officer who put his knee in Floyd’s neck as he begged for air and later died. All four officers have been fired.
Former NBA player Steven Jackson took to social media to pay tribute to his longtime friend whom he called his twin. “Floyd was my brother, we called each other twin,” Jackson said in an emotional video. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and ya’ll go and kill my brother.”
View this post on Instagram
Where we from not many make it out but my Twin was happy I did. I’m gonna continue to make u proud fam. It makes me so angry that after all the things u been through when u get to your best self that they take u out like this. Fuk Rest Easy Twin
Minnesota is no stranger to police brutality. The Star-Tribune published a list of the 193 people who have died “after a physical confrontation with Minnesota police” since the year 2000 (excluding car accidents during police pursuits). The database includes Philando Castile, the 32-year-old cafeteria worker killed by a Minneapolis cop during a traffic stop in 2016. Castile’s murder was the first, and possibly only time, that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged for killing a civilian, although the former officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted.
Watch the interview with Floyd's family below.