Tired of the inaction in Breonna Taylor’s case, Beyoncé, like many, took action. So she sent an open letter to the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
After three officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department forced their way into her apartment on a no-knock search warrant in a drug raid, Taylor was a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed on March 13. The officers, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, have all been placed on administrative reassignment since the shooting but have not been charged.
On Thursday, June 11, the Louisville City Council voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants, a change now known as “Breonna’s Law.”
In her letter posted to Beyoncé’s website Sunday, June 14, she said the new measure is a start but it still doesn’t bring Taylor and her family any justice.
“While ‘Breonna’s Law’ passed in Louisville and federal legislation has been introduced that will also ban no-knock warrants, these small steps in the right direction are painful reminders there has still been no justice for Breonna Taylor or her family,” the letter reads.
“Three months have passed and zero arrests have been made, and no officers have been fired. The LMPD’s investigation was turned over to your office, and yet all of the officers involved in the shooting remain employed by the LMPD. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison must be held accountable for their actions.”
The lawsuit states that the main suspect in their drug investigation was already in custody when cops barged into her daughter’s home. Moreover, no drugs were found inside Taylor’s home after the raid.
Taylor was lying in bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker at the time. Walker opened fire as the apartment door was breached, believing the officers were criminal intruders, and hit one in the leg. He was arrested on charges of attempted murder of a police officer. Those charges were dropped in May.
Beyoncé also stated in her letter that the LMPD’s investigations have been flawed and created more “questions than answers.”
“Their incident report states that Ms. Taylor suffered no injuries, yet we know she was shot at least eight times,” the letter read. “The LMPD officers claim they announced themselves before forcing their way into Ms. Taylor’s apartment, but her boyfriend who was with her, as well as several neighbors, all say that this is untrue.”
At the end of her letter, Beyoncé said she wants Cameron to do three things: bring criminal charges against the three officers involved, provide transparency in the investigation of the officers’ “criminal conduct” and look into the LMPD’s response to Taylor being killed.
“Your office has both the power and the responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor, and demonstrate the value of a Black woman’s life,” the letter stated. “I urge you to use that power … With every death of a Black person at the hands of police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern … The next months cannot look like the last three.”
Cameron became the special prosecutor on the case last month after the previous prosecutor, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, recused himself from the investigation of the shooting, citing a conflict of interest because at the time he was prosecuting Walker. Through a spokeswoman, Cameron, a Republican who is the first Black state attorney general in Kentucky’s history, issued a statement to CNN on Sunday evening saying his office is aware of Beyoncé’s letter.
“We are aware of the letter. As the letter makes requests related to the ongoing investigation involving the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor, we have no further comment,” Elizabeth Kuhn, communications director for the office, said in the statement.
A new spotlight has been placed on Taylor since George Floyd’s death, with protests against police brutality and systemic racism being held in various U.S. cities.
Floyd was a Black man who died on Memorial Day after a now-terminated Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, a death that has opened a new era of activism and demonstrations in the cause of racial justice.