U.S. Rep. Yarmuth, City Leaders Join In Call For Accountability In Breonna Taylor Case

Jul 13, 2020

Protesters outside Metro Hall on July 13, 2020.
Credit Ryan Van Velzer / WFPL

Congressman John Yarmuth and other city leaders joined in a protest march on Monday calling for transparency and accountability in the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Monday morning’s “Until Justice” demonstration was not unlike other protests seen in Louisville since May 28. For the past seven weeks, sustained protests have called for the arrest and prosecution of the three officers involved in the shooting death of Taylor, transparency in the investigation into the incident, criminal justice reforms, disinvestment from police and investment in the city’s Black community.

But Monday’s protests began with an implicit endorsement from U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth, who commented on the sheer momentum of Louisville’s calls for justice.

“This is continuing an effort started a couple months ago that will continue until we have justice,” Yarmuth said.

Protesters marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza to Metro Hall chanting “no justice, no peace” and calling out the name of Taylor, who was killed by police during a raid in March.

Standing on the steps of Metro Hall, just outside the mayor’s office, city leaders including Pastor Bruce F. Williams gave impassioned speeches calling for justice, transparency and accountability.

“Have you ever heard of demonstrations happening in all 50 states? Have you ever seen a demonstration where Black Lives Matter is the mantra but you have more white people than Black folk in the demonstration? Have you ever seen gatherings where there are organizations that are a cross section of the entire community yet our leaders are so tone deaf and blind that they cannot see this is not business as usual,” Williams said.

With megaphone in hand, Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League, reiterated a chief demand of protesters: terminate the officers involved in Taylor’s killing.

One officer, Brett Hankinson, has been fired for displaying “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.” The other two officers remain on administrative leave.

“I am here representing the Urban League. I do not come with just my own voice as a Black woman who understands how scary it is that a woman in her home could be killed in a compassionate city that does nothing in response to her death,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds and other speakers also had a message for Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is currently overseeing the investigation into Taylor’s death: “Do your job.”

Attorney and Courier Journal cartoonist Marc Murphy addressed the crowd and called out Cameron specifically, saying there is no case more important in the whole country than Taylor’s.

“There are Breonna Taylor posters and paintings all over the world and there is a Breonna Taylor file on your desk sir. It’s time you pay attention to that,” Murphy said.

Cameron reiterated Monday that he would not put a timeline on his investigation, saying only that he recognizes the public interest and has a responsibility to get it right.

Protest organizer Timothy Findley said he has a simple message for the mayor, the police and the attorney general:

“Until there justice for Breonna Taylor, until there is justice in this city, until there is economic justice, it’s going to be a long year. We are not tired. We’re going to continue to do what needs to be done until we see justice,” Findley said.