Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor

Katherine Portillo, Photographer

 Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, living in Louisville, Kentucky was shot and killed in the comfort of her own home in the early hours of March 13. If it weren’t for her family and social media, no one would have ever heard her story. The Louisville Police Department tried to sweep it under the rug as if it were nothing, but were unsuccessful when the world found out and reacted to yet another black person being murdered by police.


The night of March 12, 2020, Taylor was finally done working four overnight shifts at University of Louisville Health where she was a full-time ER technician. She and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, planned a date night. The two decided on having dinner at a local steak house then coming home to watch a movie. The plan originally was to go to Walker’s home but ended up changing, and the two ended the night at Breonna’s apartment instead. 


Breonna and her younger sister (who was away on a trip), lived together in a small apartment in the south side of Louisville. In this home, Taylor had a wall filled up with post-it notes full of her dreams and goals that she hoped to accomplish in the very near future. Some of these goals include: buying a car (which she had just completed a few weeks prior), buying a home for her and her boyfriend, and having a child, as she already had a name picked out.  

Around midnight of March 13, Breonna told Kenneth to turn off the TV so they could finally fall asleep. Little did they know 3 undercover cops (Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove) were issued a “No Knock” warrant a few days prior. This order was then changed to a “knock and pronounce” warrant. Walker has spoken since then and stated that they did not hear any knock or police call out whatsoever. 


The reason this warrant was settled was because of a suspicion of 2 men selling drugs out of a home. Come to find out, the actual house where this was happening was over 10 miles from Breonna’s apartment. This drug situation was completely unrelated to Breonna.


The 3 officers punch Taylor’s door in. Fearing of an intruder because they didn’t hear a knock, Kenneth reached for a gun, shot and wounded 1 officer. All 3 officers retaliated with firing. Bullets were fired through every room of the house, going through chairs, a soap dish, a table, as well as shattering a sliding glass door. Breonna was then shot over 8 times. 


After being struck, Breonna struggled to breathe for over 5 minutes but did not receive any sort of medical attention for 20 minutes after. In the police report, it was stated that Taylor and no injury and there was no occurrence of force entry.


As of right now, the city of Louisville has fired Brett Hankison. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, however, have been placed on administrative leave. A law has also been passed called “Breonna’s Law” which bans the issuing of no-knock warrants.

This is not enough. How many black Americans need to die before people realize black lives matter? Breonna’s name has caused a justified uproar to the current Black Lives Matter protests.


Breonna Taylor has only become a household name because the world found out about her murder. If it weren’t for social media, no one would have known. The police department was trying to keep this under wraps. Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were not let go because they killed an innocent woman, they were let go because the world found out and forced the case to reopen. 

There is still no justice for an innocent black woman being murdered by 3 cops. Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove are all still roaming the streets freely as if they did nothing wrong at all. All 3 police officers need to be arrested and held criminally accountable.