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No officers have been charged in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Will they?

Weeks before George Floyd's death fueled national protests over racism and police violence, the killing of Breonna Taylor sparked outrage in Louisville, Kentucky. Her case has now become a national touchpoint for protesters, who often chant, “say her name.” As John Yang reports, the city of Louisville’s response to the incident, in which police shot Taylor to death, is a flashpoint all its own.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Weeks before George Floyd's death fueled national protests around Black Lives Matter, the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police led to anger and grief in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Her case has now become a national touch point for protesters who often chant, "Say her name."

    As John Yang reports, the city of Louisville's response to the case is now a flash point all its own.

  • Protesters:

    Say her name!

  • Protesters:

    Breonna Taylor!

  • John Yang:

    Anger and frustration are still fresh more than four months after 26-year-old Breonna Taylor died at the hands of Louisville police, no apparent progress in the investigation and no charges in the case.

  • Protesters (singing):

    Can you say her name?

  • Protesters (singing):

    Breonna Taylor.

  • Protesters (singing):

    Do you remember her name?

  • Protesters (singing):

    Breonna Taylor.

  • John Yang:

    For weeks, daily demonstrations have demanded justice for the emergency room technician who was shot in her apartment as police tried to serve a no-knock drug search warrant after midnight.

    Hannah Drake is a Louisville activist.

  • Hannah Drake:

    We continue to fight. We continue to speak. We continue to shout. So, this is not an incident that will be buried underneath bourbon and bluegrass in Kentucky.

  • John Yang:

    On Monday, several Louisville residents began a hunger strike, livestreamed on Facebook, and backed by medical professionals to ensure their well-being.

    Protests have spread across the country, including the NBA. Philadelphia 76er forward Tobias Harris used his time with reporters on Monday to send a message to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is investigating Taylor's death.

  • Tobias Harris:

    We want to make sure that Daniel Cameron will arrest the cops and officers involved with Breonna Taylor's death. And, yes, that's all I got to say.

    (CROSSTALK)

    That's going to be my answer — that's going to be my answer for every question.

  • Question:

    Fair enough.

  • John Yang:

    Amid all this, new details are emerging. Last week, The Louisville Courier-Journal used police dispatch tapes to determine that, for more than 25 minutes, Taylor lay where she fell in her apartment hallway, receiving no medical attention.

    The coroner said she had been shot five times and could not have been saved.

  • Hannah Drake:

    It seems as if this city continues to murder Breonna Taylor every single day. So, there was a moment where the mayor called on us to have a day of healing and reflection. And there can be no healing and reflection when, every day, something new is coming out about the case.

  • John Yang:

    Records show three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to break down Taylor's door at 12:40 a.m. None wore a body camera.

    Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, has said he heard pounding on the door, but no one saying they were police. He said he thought someone was breaking in. Investigators recorded his statement.

  • Kenneth Walker:

    So, now the door is, like, flying open. I let off one shot, and then all of a sudden there is a whole lot of shots.

    So, there's just shooting. And, like, we're both on the ground. And when all the shots stop, I'm, like, panicking. She's right there on the ground, like, bleeding.

  • John Yang:

    Walker shot once, hitting an officer in the leg, though charges against him were later dropped. The police fired 20 rounds.

    Detective Brett Hankison was dismissed last month for violating the department's deadly force policy by wantonly and blindly shooting into the apartment. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove are on administrative leave.

    In May, city officials turned the case over to Attorney General Cameron, a Republican. He is the first Black person to hold that office, and is a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Protester:

    Your new neighbor has the power to arrest and charge cops that murdered Breonna Taylor.

  • John Yang:

    Last week, nearly 90 protesters were arrested after peacefully gathering at his home. Cameron declined to comment for this story, citing the ongoing investigation.

  • Man:

    Why have laws not been enforced?

  • John Yang:

    Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, faces calls for a city council investigation into his handling of Taylor's death, and the ensuing protests, when a popular restaurant owner was shot and killed by authorities.

    On MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell reports last week, he deflected questions about the criminal probe.

  • Mayor Greg Fischer:

    This is in Daniel Cameron's hands. We have communicated to him, please move this forward quickly as you possibly can. Our city is suffering. The country is suffering. Certainly, Breonna's family is suffering as well.

    And so I pray that we will have a quick resolution to this. We have done everything that we can here.

  • John Yang:

    The FBI is conducting a separate investigation.

  • Protester:

    It is time for Daniel Cameron to get information.

  • John Yang:

    And as weeks have turned into months since Breonna Taylor's killing, demonstrators in Louisville and elsewhere have made sure she is not forgotten.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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