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Louisville gathers to continue calls for justice for Breonna Taylor on one-year anniversary of her death

Marking one year since Breonna Taylor's death
Marking one year since the police killing of Breonna Taylor 07:49

Saturday marks one year since police killed Breonna Taylor during a botched raid. Now, Taylor's family and hundreds of others are continuing their demands for justice. 

Downtown Louisville, which quickly became the months-long site for racial injustice protests last summer, was transformed into a memorial site for Taylor on Saturday. By noon, hundreds of people had showed up to the area, placing photos, protest signs, flowers and candles in a carefully laid out circle in the middle of Jefferson Square Park. 

Videos show that the emotion behind Taylor's death has not waned over the past year, as protestors Saturday maintained their echoes of "Black lives matter" and "no justice, no peace." 

By late afternoon, between 400 and 500 people had gathered in downtown Louisville to march, according to Courier Journal reporters broadcasting the event. Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, helped lead the march, holding a large purple banner with Taylor's name and image.

The protest, videos show, was peaceful.

Bianca Austin, Taylor's aunt, told the Courier Journal that Saturday's demonstration was "a reflection of this past year." 

"Today is a day where we're all going to come back together to give us that motivation to keep going, to keep pushing for justice for Breonna," she said. "It's a beautiful feeling." 

Hundreds march through Louisville to honor Breonna Taylor one year after police shot and killed her.

Posted by Courier Journal on Saturday, March 13, 2021

On March 13 last year, Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was at her Kentucky apartment with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Just after midnight, officers, who had been looking for illegal drugs in connection to an ex-boyfriend of Taylor's, raided their home. Walker, who was unaware that a raid was being conducted and thought the officers were people trying to break into their home, allegedly shot and wounded one of the officers, which Louisville police say prompted them to open fire.

Taylor, who had no criminal record, was shot by police eight times. 

Walker was charged with assault and attempted murder, but a judge permanently dismissed those charges this week.

Three Louisville Metro Police Department officers were involved in Taylor's death. It wasn't until June 2020 that Brett Hankison, who police say "wantonly and blindly fired 10 shots into the apartment of Breonna Taylor," was fired. The other two officers involved, Myles Cosgrove, who shot Taylor, and Joshua Jaynes, were not fired until January.

Hankison was charged in September for wanton endangerment for endangering Taylor's neighbors. None of the officers have been charged for her death. 

Courier Journal investigative reporter Tessa Duvall told CBS News' Nikki Battiste on Saturday that "there's not a day that goes by that people aren't talking about Breonna Taylor," in Louisville. "This discussion has really permeated so much of the city of Louisville," she said. "While this started as a conversation about one woman and her death it's really grown on to take this much more significant meaning about what equity looks like across the community in multiple ways." 

Duvall said that a year later, people are still talking about Taylor. "They're still turning up to support her family and support the cause of trying to get justice for her in any way that they can," she said.

Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League, told demonstrators one Saturday that the gathering "is about justice."

"This is a movement," she said. "This is about our power to change this world for our children, for my daughter. This is so we make sure that not another person dies at the hands of the police."

She directly addressed mothers who were at the demonstration, saying that she and many others worry whether their daughters will make it home safely.

Taylor, she said, did make it home — which should have meant she was safe.

Reynolds said, "At a time when this country was celebrating health care workers, they were telling us we must honor health care workers. Breonna worked all day and came home." She added, "The people that I pay, that you pay to serve and protect knocked her down and they killed her. She was home. She made it." 

Families whose loved ones were also killed by police joined the anniversary event in Louisville. 

"It's one of those realities where we could be on our knees with our hands up, and we're still going to be killed," said Ashley Monterrosa, whose brother Sean was killed by police on June 2 in the parking lot of a Walgreens in California. 

Monterrosa said that they wanted to show that the Latino community stands in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against racial injustice.

"We're trying to build that bridge between Black and Brown," Monterrosa said. "I just want to acknowledge that there's a lot of anti-Blackness within the Latina community, and we're here to change the narrative." 

Sean Monterrosa's last text message to his sisters, just half an hour before he was killed, was asking them to sign a petition for justice for George Floyd, who had been killed just weeks earlier in Minneapolis. 

"Not only was my brother for George, but like Ashley said, he was fighting for Breonna too," said their sister Michelle Monterrosa. "And we're going to do what our brother gave us a platform to do." 

Just days before the one-year mark, Taylor's mother filed complaints against six officers in LMPD's Professional Standards Unit who had roles in the overall investigation of Taylor's death, according to CBS News affiliate WLKY

The complaints are against sergeants Kyle Meany and Amanda Seelye, detectives Anthony James, Mike Nobles and Mike Campbell, and lieutenant Shawn Hoover.

"Several actions of the Place Based Investigations squad, acting under the command of Kyle Meany, were in violation of LMPD policies and procedures," Palmer wrote in the complaint against Meany. "They were reckless, deliberate and in complete disregard for the rights and safety of citizens."

The Louisville division of the FBI said in a statement on Saturday that it "remains steadfast in its commitment to bringing this investigation to its appropriate conclusion." 

"Even though the COVID pandemic presented several unexpected obstacles, FBI Louisville has made significant progress in the investigation since it was initiated in May 2020," Special Agent in Charge Robert Brown said. "Our team is actively investigating all aspects of her death and will continue to work diligently until this investigation is completed." 

As people gathered in Louisville, thousands of people around the country shared their support for Taylor's family, both in person and on social media. 

President Joe Biden tweeted that he remains committed to signing a police reform bill into law as people mourn Taylor's loss. 

"Breonna Taylor's death was a tragedy, a blow to her family, her community, and America," he said. "As we continue to mourn her, we must press ahead to pass meaningful police reform in Congress."

In San Diego, more than 100 people gathered to run in Taylor's memory, and held a moment of silence before embarking. 

"Today, Breonna Taylor should be enjoying her Saturday with family and friends. Instead, it's the anniversary of her murder and her killers - Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly - walk free," tweeted filmmaker Ava DuVernay. "The system was built to allow this. Don't ignore that. Get involved." 

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted the importance of continuing to say Taylor's name.

"Saying her name is about honor...respect...accountability...equal protection...demanding action...justice," she wrote.

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