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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DCU chapter.

Following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, the internet was made aware of the tragic death of Louisville woman, Breonna Taylor, at the hands of local authorities. 


Her passing was met with an incredible reaction across various social media platforms, renewing the Say Her Name hashtag which aims to raise awareness for systemic violence against Black women. This eventually culminated in extreme anger and disillusionment in the American justice system after a grand jury decided that her death was not the result of manslaughter by Louisville police. 

brown justice for Breonna Taylor sign
Photo by Logan Weaver from Unsplash

Not only was a talented young woman lost to police brutality in this ongoing series of events, but a court ruling that the involved police officers merely engaged in “wanton endangerment” rather than displaying a disregard for human life, further exposed the racial inequalities that are entrenched within all levels of law and authority within the United States. 


According to the New York Times, the 26-year-old was a healthcare worker, and intended to continue forging her career along that path; she devoted her life to others and was ultimately shot six times by men who were supposedly committed to the same cause of supporting their community. 


Although the exact circumstances of her death have become a topic of contention among online communities, the fact remains that Breonna Taylor was not only an innocent in the situation but that the three police officers who were directly involved in her murder were essentially permitted to walk free with a slap on the wrists. 


The arrival of police officers at Breonna Taylor’s home on June 23 is due to her apparent link to an ongoing drug-related investigation that involved her ex-boyfriend. The Louisville police department has claimed that her home may have been used to stash drugs, despite a lack of any hard evidence to support this claim, and they subsequently used a battering ram to enter her home in the middle of the night. 


Breonna and her boyfriend were awoken by this and the subsequent sounds of gunfire, which Breonna’s family would later use in their lawsuit against the police department, as this aggression was completely unmitigated. 


Breonna’s boyfriend, who is a licensed gun-owner, believed that he was the victim of an armed robbery and fired at what he thought to be intruders, non-fatally injuring one police officer in the leg. In response, the police shot their guns wildly, resulting in catastrophic injuries to the innocent Breonna Taylor, who succumbed to her wounds within minutes, and it is believed that she could not have survived even if sufficient medical aid was administered at the scene. 


On September 15, almost three months after this incident, the city of Louisville granted Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit. This was followed on September 23 by a grand jury ruling that none of the police officers who were present in Taylor’s home were to be charged with her death. 


Consequently, protests erupted across the United States and a curfew was imposed upon Louisville itself in an attempt to curb the unrest. 


In an unsurprising turn of events, it has emerged that the incident report filed by police following Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting contained careless errors, there also exists no body-cam footage from that night, and recently, an anonymous juror has sued to release a transcript of the court proceedings that resulted in the freedom of these police officers. 


Regardless of any further outcomes, Breonna Taylor remains a stark reminder of the potential consequences that arise for simply existing as a Black woman in America. Although this case remains a surreal tragedy, it further highlights the need for a Black Lives Matter movement, especially in terms of the underrepresented female victims of police brutality. 


Breonna Taylor was and is innocent; say her name.

Justice for Breonna Taylor sign
Photo by Daniel Lobo distributed under a CC0 1.0 license

MA Journalism student at DCU
BA in Economics, Politics and Law DCU. Currently studying European Union Law in The University of Amsterdam. Campus Correspondent for Her Campus DCU 2020/2021!