As part of her public pivot towards sharing more personal, political content on her social media channels, Beyoncé has joined the rallying cry in demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, an E.M.T. who was killed on March 13 while sleeping in her bed by three police officers who intruded her Louisville home.
The Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has gone so far as to sign “Breonna’s Law,” which bans “no-knock” search warrants for entry into homes—the same type of warrant the officers who invaded Taylor’s home claim to have used in an attempt to search for two individuals they suspected were selling drugs, only to enter the wrong home—but justice has not been served. Taylor, who was 26 years old, died three months ago, yet no arrests have been made against the officers responsible for her death.
In a letter addressed to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Beyoncé requests he “take swift and decisive action in charging the officers” who killed Taylor, and outlines the inconsistencies in the Louisville police department’s investigation into her death. For example, Taylor was shot eight times but the LMPD claims she had no injuries in their autopsy report. Taylor’s boyfriend, who was sleeping in bed next to her as she was shot to death, in addition to many neighbors, have reported that the officers did not announce themselves before entering the home, though the officers claim that they did.
“Your office has both the power and the responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor, and demonstrate the value of a Black woman’s life,” she wrote, before demanding criminal charges be brought against Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, and Brett Hankinson, the officers who shot Taylor to death. Beyoncé also urged the Attorney General to be transparent regarding the “investigation and prosecution of these officers’ criminal conduct” and investigate the practices at the LMPD that “result in the repeated deaths of unarmed Black citizens.”
While a law was passed because of Taylor’s death and will hopefully prevent more deaths of Black people at the hands of police who burst into people’s homes, many have pointed out the hypocrisy of the maneuver, as the officers still roam free. And the fact that it may take a celebrity with global power to push the Louisville police department to take action and arrest police officers who killed an innocent, unarmed person is shameful.
“With every death of a Black person at the hands of police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it,” Beyoncé wrote, adding links to the petitions that demand justice for Taylor.
Thousands across the world gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, but many fear the momentum has slowed down in response to protesting the injustices faced by Taylor and her family. Beyoncé is not the first to point this out—many people on social media continue to demand that they “arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”—but her strongly worded letter to the Kentucky Attorney General is one of the larger, more official statements to be made on the matter by a celebrity. Rather than participate in the filming a haphazard pledge to take responsibility for systemic injustices, she used her platform to directly address those in power and put pressure on them to bring justice to Taylor and her family, as well as the many other Black people who are murdered by police in the United States.