"With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: The death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern," the singer wrote in the open letter.

June 15, 2020 at 02:36 AM EDT
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Just like she did for George Floyd, Beyoncé is using her voice to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed by police in March while she was sleeping.

In an open letter posted to her website and addressed to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Sunday, Beyoncé asked that "swift and decisive action" be taken in charging the three Louisville officers involved in the killing — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — who were all placed on administrative reassignment but were not criminally charged.

"Three months have passed — and the LMPD’s investigations have created more questions than answers," Beyoncé wrote. "Their incident report states that Ms. Taylor suffered no injuries — yet we know she was shot at least eight times. The LMPD officers claim they announced themselves before forcing their way into Ms. Taylor’s apartment — but her boyfriend who was with her, as well as several neighbors, all say that this is untrue."

Breonna Taylor/instagram

Beyoncé urged Cameron to take three steps toward achieving justice for Taylor and her family: "Bring criminal charges against" the three officers, "commit to transparency in the investigation and prosecution of these officers' criminal conduct," and "investigate the LMPD's response" to Taylor’s death, "as well the pervasive practices that result in the repeated deaths of unarmed Black citizens."

She finished the letter by urging Cameron not to "let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy. With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: The death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers. The next months cannot look like the last three.”

On March 13, Taylor, an emergency room technician, was killed at her home at around 12:30 a.m. by police officers who were investigating a drug dealer. Although the dealer didn't live there (and had just been arrested at a different location), officers alleged that he had once picked up a package at Taylor's residence. The officers had secured a “no-knock” search warrant, allowing them to enter without warning. The city banned such warrants last week in a law named after Taylor.

While police say they knocked and identified themselves before entering the home, witnesses have disputed that claim. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was with her at the time, said he thought it was a break-in and shot his gun, hitting one of the officers in the thigh. The police fired back more than 20 shots, hitting Taylor at least eight times and killing her.

Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but those charges were dropped on May 22, after the FBI opened an investigation into the case.

Beyoncé is the latest celebrity to demand justice for Taylor. John Legend penned an emotional op-ed for EW on June 5, which would've been her 27th birthday.

"Now is the time for us to join together and emphatically SAY HER NAME. Black women created this call to action because we continue to wrongly talk about the generations-long crisis of police and vigilante violence in a gendered way, as if it only happens to Black men," he wrote. "Today I use my platform to demand justice for this essential person, this woman, daughter, sister, and friend. While her loved ones need to be indeed in our prayers on this hard day, we also must commit to never stop fighting for justice in her name."

Kentucky State Attorney Daniel Cameron responded to Beyoncé's message on Tuesday.

"We are aware of the letter," Cameron said according to local CBS reporter, Julie Dolan. "As the letter makes requests related to the ongoing investigation involving the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor, we have no further comment."

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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