by Hannah Langley ’21
On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman from Louisville, KY, was shot and killed by police officers while asleep in bed. Taylor’s death, along with the deaths of other Black people, such as George Floyd in May 2020, contributed to the Black Lives Matter movement protests against racial injustice and police violence that swept through the country in the spring and summer of 2020.
Taylor’s family is still waiting for the police officers who killed Taylor to be held accountable. Her mother, Tamika Palmer, has been fighting for the past year for charges to be brought against the men who killed her daughter.
While Palmer has not seen any actions taken yet, she says she will not give up. “I’m still out here, I’m still doing what I need to do to get justice for Breonna to make sure that people do right by her,” Palmer said in an interview with CNN.
Palmer has recently filed internal affairs complaints with the Louisville Metro Police Department in the hopes that the three men who raided Taylor’s home a year ago will be held accountable for what they did. “These internal affairs complaints,” Palmer’s attorney said, “were filed to get answers, explanations and accountability.”
In other news, nearly one year after Taylor’s passing, the family of George Floyd received a settlement from the city of Minneapolis, MN for $27 million on March 12.
Floyd’s family members, including his brother Philonise and sister Bridgett, commented on the settlement. His brother thanked the city of Minneapolis, saying, “I know that [George is] with us, and he’s standing up, right now, knowing that we have the opportunity to be able to fund low-income, African American communities.”
In addition to the settlement, there have been developments in the trial against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Floyd. A jury was in the process of being selected for Chauvin’s trial several weeks ago; however, on March 15, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, called for a delay in the trial because of the city’s settlement with Floyd’s family. Nelson asked the judge to consider a change-of-venue motion, believing the settlement will create a more biased jury pool from the city’s residents.
According to CNN, Nelson asked that the jurors already selected “at least” be called back to see if they had heard the news and could remain impartial.
Nelson stated that the announcement of the settlement during the middle of Chauvin’s trial was “disturbing to the defense” and criticized the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey.
According to The Washington Post, Judge Peter A. Cahill has said he will take the defense motions into consideration while proceeding with the jury selection and has also agreed to call back the current jurors closer to March 29 when the trial begins.