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Hundreds Gather In Louisville To Mark 1 Year Since Breonna Taylor's Death

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's been one year since police shot and killed Breonna Taylor inside her home in Louisville, Ky. Officers forced their way into her apartment during a botched raid, looking for a suspect who was not there and did not live in the home. In the process, they opened fire, killing the 26-year-old Taylor. Three officers involved in the raid have been terminated from the force. And the city of Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor's family. But the only criminal charges in the case were against a former officer for wanton endangerment of Taylor's neighbors. Today in Louisville, hundreds gathered to mark the date.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It's a anniversary of something that shouldn't have happened. This is not a celebration. We are here for justice.

MARTIN: We're joined now by Amina Elahi of member station WFPL in Louisville. Amina, thanks so much for joining us.

AMINA ELAHI: Thanks for having me.

MARTIN: First of all, could you just tell us a bit more about what's taking place in Louisville today?

ELAHI: Sure. There are hundreds of people gathered downtown, mainly in the park that transformed last year into the epicenter of the racial justice movement in Louisville. It also happens to be across the street from the mayor's office and the Hall of Justice. The events kicked off earlier this afternoon with a rally featuring several speakers and artists who are paying tribute to Breonna Taylor. And even though demonstrators are marking a somber occasion, they had high energy at times remembering Taylor in song or in poems. But they didn't focus only on her. There were a number of passionate speakers who took aim at elected officials with a clear message that they don't believe they've delivered justice for Taylor.

MARTIN: What about Taylor's family? They've been selective about when they speak publicly, but they did speak today. What did they have to say?

ELAHI: They were there today, but their comments were pretty limited. Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, was front row at the rally, and she did not speak publicly today. But she did give several interviews this week, you know? Despite all the time that's passed, accountability is still her big issue. And she wants to see action on that, locally. For example, she's not pleased with a bill in the Kentucky legislature that limits no-knock warrants. Here's what she told us yesterday.

TAMIKA PALMER: That law is crap. There's no accountability into it. I mean, they totally whitewashed the original bill. Like, there's no police accountability. So here, it'll be another time next year that we'll be right back in the same position.

ELAHI: Remember, the officers who broke down Breonna Taylor's door and shot her were authorized with a no-knock warrant. So Palmer and speakers today are also still calling for the arrest of the officers who shot Taylor. And remember, only one of them has been indicted for wanton endangerment of Taylor's neighbors.

MARTIN: Now, we only have about a minute left. So this weekend's remembrances taking place as other instances of police violence are coming into focus again. I'm thinking here the settlement the city of Minneapolis just reached with George Floyd's family. Then there's the start of the murder trial of the police officer who held his knee on Floyd's neck. Did any of these issues come up on people or were they on people's minds there in Louisville this weekend?

ELAHI: Well, in Louisville today, especially, the focus is on Breonna Taylor. But I have to say, I've noticed that she and Floyd's cases are sort of linked because of the timing, you know? He was killed not long after Taylor's case reached national attention. So they tend to get mentioned together a lot. But there were people remembering people like George Floyd and Jacob Blake, as well as those who lost their lives in Louisville last year following Breonna Taylor's death, men like David McAtee and Travis Nagdy. So it was mostly about her. But of course, these other incidents are also sort of filling the context around today's remembrance.

MARTIN: That is reporter Amina Elahi from member station WFPL in Louisville, Ky. Amina, thank you so much for sharing your reporting with us.

ELAHI: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.