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Breonna Taylor statue smashed in California weeks after installation


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image captionBreonna Taylor was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky last March (file picture)

A statue of Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman who was shot dead by police during a raid on her home in March, has been smashed in California.

It happened two weeks after the bust was erected in the city of Oakland. Police have launched an investigation.

Sculptor Leo Carson called the destruction an act of “racist aggression”. He said he would rebuild the piece in bronze.

Ms Taylor’s death spurred protests against racism and police brutality.

The ceramic bust in Oakland depicted her smiling, with a message on its base that reads: “Say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

It was found smashed on Saturday.

The Oakland police department said late on Monday that it was investigating what appeared to be an act of vandalism, but had not yet identified any suspects or motive.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf described it as a “vicious attack against the light [and] justice sought in Breonna Taylor’s name.”

“We will keep moving forward; Oakland will not tolerate acts of hatred,” she wrote on Twitter.

Mr Carson told local media that he made the statue to honour the legacy of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He said he was “devastated and enraged” that it had been destroyed, but announced on Monday that he had raised enough money to rebuild the statue in bronze.

What happened to Breonna Taylor?

Plainclothes police officers stormed Ms Taylor’s Louisville home shortly after midnight on 13 March. The 26-year-old medical technician was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, at the time.

The officers were executing a search warrant as part of a drugs investigation.

Mr Walker fired a shot from his licensed gun, later telling police he thought that Ms Taylor’s ex-boyfriend had broken in, according to the New York Times.

media caption“To be a black woman right now, it’s painful”: Activist and businesswoman Yandy Smith-Harris reacts to the Breonna Taylor case

The three officers returned fire, discharging 32 rounds, according to a ballistics report from the FBI.

Ms Taylor was shot amid the commotion and died on the hallway floor.

No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Wine said the search was cancelled after the shooting.

Ms Taylor’s family sued Louisville authorities in May and reached a $12m (£9.4m) settlement.

None of the officers have been charged with Ms Taylor’s death. One was charged in September with “wanton endangerment” for firing into a neighbour’s apartment.

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