Students react to Breonna Taylor’s death


Wikimedia Commons/Sarahmirk

A spray painted mural on the outside of the Pioneer Place Mall in Portland, Ore., shows Breonna Taylor with the words “No Justice No Peace.”

It was around midnight on March 13 of this year in Louisville when a young woman was shot to death by three officers who broke into her apartment. 

Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was asleep in her apartment with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. That’s when they heard banging at their door and they both awoke. They called out and asked, “Who’s there?” There was no response. 

According to the New York Times, the police officers had used a battering ram to enter the apartment. They had received a no-knock search warrant, which meant that the officers could force entry into their home without asking or stating why. They had been following a drug case and two of the men they were searching for were selling drugs from a house far from Taylor’s. However, the judge signed a warrant so they could search Taylor’s apartment because they believed one of the men was using her apartment to receive packages. 

Coincidentally enough, the New York Times also reported that the man was Taylor’s ex and she had been dating him on and off until she eventually cut ties with him. Walker was terrified that it had been that same ex trying to break in.

One of the officers, Sergeant Mattingly, was shot in the thigh by Walker, which resulted in the officers firing back several rounds. Many articles give different numbers, but she was shot six times, and one shot was fatal.

Many students at MCHS had similar reactions to this news.

“I was mortified,” Abigail Cimarolli, senior, said. “I understand they had a warrant, but they shot the first person they saw. No reason to either. I mean, what if that was a child?”

Joey Khar, a graduate of MCHS, says he was disgusted as well, but not surprised.

“This country, its law enforcement, its institutions, its government, and even an alarming amount of its own citizens don’t care about the lives of others, especially people of color,” he said. “It’s horrendous and it has to stop. It should have stopped before it even started.”

Charles Simmons, sophomore, says that he wasn’t surprised either after hearing about this incident. 

“Police have been using brute force for years,” he said. “You often don’t see them get in trouble for it other than sometimes. It’s nothing less to expect from our government, but it’s still shocking.”

The Courier Journal in Louisville reports that Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Hankison (the three officers involved) “were placed on administrative reassignment pending the results of the investigation into Taylor’s death.” The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) had fired Hankison because he had been accused of “blindly firing 10 rounds” into the apartment. Then, after four months of investigation, the grand jurors “indicted Hankison alone on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment shots that went into a neighbor’s apartment.” However, no one was charged in Taylor’s death, and “the FBI investigation remains ongoing.”

Since her death, social media became flooded with people spreading #SayHerName in an attempt to bring awareness and remind others of what happened to her.