Breonna Taylor: Protesters call on people to 'say her name'

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Image shows Breonna TaylorImage source, Facebook
Image caption,
Breonna Taylor, 26, was a decorated emergency medical technician

George Floyd, the black man killed in police custody in the US, has become a rallying cry for equality and justice in some of the largest protests against racism since the 1960s.

Protestors have chanted his name for 13 days and his face has been painted in murals from Syria to Belfast.

But other names too have been on the lips of protesters, in particular that of Breonna Taylor, a health worker shot eight times by police who entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky on 13 March.

Activists are calling on people to "Say Her Name" as part of a movement to remember black women who have not attracted the same attention as other cases.

On Friday, when Ms Taylor would have turned 27, mourners gathered for a vigil in Louisville and people shared birthday messages on social media writing, "you should have been here to celebrate".

"It started off lonely, but it's so amazing to see so many people standing up for her, just saying her name," her mother Tamika Palmer, said at the vigil.

Ms Taylor would have been out in the Black Lives Matter protests if she hadn't been killed, her mother added.

What happened to Breonna Taylor?

The events of the night Ms Taylor died are disputed.

Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was at home in bed in Louisville when police officers entered her apartment shortly after midnight. She died after being shot eight times.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
At a vigil on Friday, Breonna Taylor's mother said her daughter would have joined protests for equality

They raided her address using a battering ram when executing a search warrant as part of a drugs investigation. No drugs were found on the property.

Local media report that police were acting on a "no-knock" warrant, allowing them to enter the home without warning. Police say despite the warrant, they knocked before entering but Ms Taylor's family and a neighbour have disputed this.

Ms Taylor was asleep and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who has a gun licence, grabbed his firearm, according to the suit.

Mr Walker believed people were breaking in and he fired in self-defence, his lawyer said.

Mr Walker called 911 and said that "somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend," according to a recording released last week.

Louisville police said they returned fire after one officer was shot and wounded in the incident.

What is the status of the case?

In May Ms Taylor's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit that accuses the officers of battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence.

It says the officers were not looking for Ms Taylor or her partner - but for an unrelated suspect who was already in custody and did not live in the apartment complex.

The search warrant obtained by police included Ms Taylor's house because authorities believed a suspect in a drug ring used her apartment to hide drugs, according to a CNN news affiliate.

A lawyer for Ms Taylor's family, Ben Crump, described the incident as a "botched police raid."

An investigation into the circumstances of her death opened by the FBI on 21 May is ongoing, according to CNN.

Three officers have been placed on administrative leave, but no-one has been charged.

What has changed since her death?

The officers who entered Ms Taylor's apartment were not wearing body cameras that could record the unfolding events.

Now, the Louisville police department says all officers must wear body cameras.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Protestors say Breonna Taylor's name should not be forgotten

"No-knock" search warrants have been temporarily suspended.

And the Louisville police chief was removed from his post when it was discovered that officers present at the fatal shooting of a black man during a protest did not have their body cams turned on.

Why does her story resonate?

People expressing their sadness, horror and anger about racism in the US have been sharing pictures of Ms Taylor on social media. More than five million people, including singer Janelle Monáe, have signed a petition calling for justice.

Many drew attention to stark statistics about the huge inequalities African-American women live with.

Black women are three times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

They also experience significant pay disparity - in 2017 black women earned 61 cents for every dollar earned by white men, according to the Centre for American Progress.

As demands for racial equality continue, many want Breonna Taylor's name to be remembered.