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Breonna Taylor: Protest to mark anniversary of police killing

image copyrightReuters

image captionNo one has been charged over Breonna Taylor’s death

People are gathering in the US city of Louisville for a demonstration to mark a year since the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black medic shot dead when police raided her home.

The incident caused outrage, spurring protests against racism and brutality.

Ms Taylor was shot by officers who forced entry into her home using a “no-knock” warrant that meant they did not have to announce themselves.

The three police officers who carried out the raid were eventually sacked.

During the operation Ms Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot and wounded one of the officers. Earlier this month a charge of attempted murder against him was dropped.

Mr Walker said he fired once because he believed criminals were breaking in. The officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Ms Taylor.

However a grand jury decided not to charge any of them over Ms Taylor’s death, sparking protests.

Ahead of Saturday’s demonstration, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said in a statement that he would “never understand the unimaginable grief” of Ms Taylor’s family and loved ones.

“Today we remember Breonna Taylor, her tragic and unnecessary loss and the immense work we have ahead of us,” he said.

The FBI’s Louisville field office also issued a statement saying that its investigation into Ms Taylor’s death had made “significant progress” since it began last May, without providing further details.

Ms Taylor’s killing did not initially attract nationwide attention. But it received renewed focus after the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis, which ignited anti-racism protests around the world.

Her case attracted the support of celebrities such as tennis star Naomi Osaka and basketball legend LeBron James. A US Department of Justice investigation is ongoing.

At the protest, Camille Bascus told AFP why she had travelled more than 400 miles (650km) from Atlanta to attend.

“It’s been a year and justice has not been served,” the 50-year-old said.

She said she wanted to “represent the people without voices, because they no longer have a heartbeat. We have a voice and our lives matter”.

The city of Louisville paid $12m (£8.6m) to Ms Taylor’s family and agreed to police reforms to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

Only one of the police officers who took part in the deadly raid faced any charges linked to the botched raid. Brett Hankison was charged with endangering Ms Taylor’s neighbours by firing into a next door apartment.

“That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a black man sends a powerful message that black lives do matter and police brutality against people of colour must end,” said Floyd family attorney Ben Crump.

Jury selection is under way for the murder trial of police officer Derek Chauvin, who was filmed with his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck as he begs for his life and says “I can’t breathe”. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

media captionBreonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker describes the night she was killed by police

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