As George Floyd protests take shape across the country, people in Brooklyn are making sure Breonna Taylor is not forgotten.
“They slaughter our men in the streets, and then they go and slaughter us — black women — in our homes,” the organizer of a protest in Crown Heights said Wednesday through a megaphone.
Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed in her home on March 13 by officers in the Louisville Metro Police Department. The three officers used a “no-knock” warrant to enter her apartment around 1 a.m. that Friday, believing that her home had been used to store illegal substances. No drugs have been found in Taylor’s apartment.
The “no-knock” warrant meant that the officers could enter her home without warning and without identifying themselves as law enforcement. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who believed people were breaking into the apartment, fired a shot at the officers. They retaliated and fatally shot Taylor eight times.
Event organizers say Taylor’s name has not gotten as much media attention as George Floyd’s, but her death should not be forgotten in the Black Lives Matter movement. “We have not heard a lot about this story,” the organizer said to the thousands of people in the crowd.
People began to gather at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights around 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Cars passing through Eastern Parkway honked their horns in solidarity and waved to protesters, who’d lined up on either side of the road holding signs and chanting Taylor’s name.
Police officers stood along the outskirts of the group, and they did not stop the crowd from moving into the road to form a crowd in the intersection. The organizers addressed the growing group, and then led the way heading north on Bedford Avenue.
“To the police officers who surround us, protect us today,” said the organizer. “Don’t fight us, don’t combat with us. Protect us so that our voices and Breonna Taylor gets the justice that she deserves.”
Thousands of people, some with signs emblazoned with Taylor’s name or Black Lives Matter, made their way up Bedford. Police flanked the crowd, with cruisers in the back trailing behind the final demonstrators.
Along the street, store owners and neighbors came out to cheer on the protesters, offer bottles of water and hold up signs in support. When the group reached the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Dean Street, the crowd paused and kneeled.
“You want to live in peace?” the organizer said to the group while they continued to kneel and cars passed through the intersection. “Make sure that everyone has the same equal and civil rights. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, your nationality, the color of your skin, your race and your religion. No one is better than anyone.”
While all four officers in the George Floyd case have now been charged, the three officers who shot and killed Taylor currently face no criminal charges.
“They still kicked down her door,” the organizer said. “So a lot of times people say, ‘Why are you so angry? Why are you mad?’ Because we do not have the civil rights that we deserve in this country in 2020.”
Protesters continued their march through Brooklyn, crossing under the Williamsburg Bridge and heading further north toward Greenpoint. They chanted Breonna Taylor’s name over the course of several miles.
“We’re gonna do this peacefully, we’re gonna do this with integrity,” the organizer said. “And we’re gonna lift the name of Breonna Taylor so she can get the justice — her family can get the justice that they deserve.”