On March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her Louisville residence by police officers using a no-knock warrant. The death of Taylor sparked protest in Louisville and across the nation, adding to the current level of civil unrest revolving around civil rights.
On Sept. 23, former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison was indicted with three charges of wanton endangerment due to the shots he fired during the raid that struck a neighboring residence with three people inside. He has pleaded not guilty.
On Sept. 27, a small protest against Taylor’s death and subsequent lack of charges brought to bear against Taylor’s police killers was organized by Courtney McCoy through the Facebook group Marching for Montevallo.
The group of protestors numbered around 15 people, and congregated outside of the Barnes and Noble on Main Street.
McCoy brought a portable microphone and led the group in several chants including some about the “power of the people” and “vote him [President Donald Trump] out.”
Several cars going by honked and many people waved at the protestors in what appeared to be a supportive manner. The protestors appeared to be a mixed group of local residents and college students, but they all had similar reasons for being there and all strongly believed that there had been no justice for the death of Breonna Taylor.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” said University of Montevallo sophomore history major John Latner. “She was murdered while sleeping in her apartment.”
According Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, both were awake at the time of the raid, but were in bed.
Another protestor, Candice Cumming, had strong feelings about the no-knock warrants, whose issuance have since been banned in Louisville.
“I don’t know why they needed those in the first place,” said Cumming. “They are endangering their own lives.”
Cumming went on to say that since Americans have the right to defend themselves, then any law enforcement officer breaking into a residence without warning was putting themselves at the risk of being shot.
While the warrant was classified as no-knock, authorities have stated that at least one other person besides police confirmed that they announced themselves as police before entering. Reporters for The New York Times said that after interviewing 12 of Taylor’s neighbors, they were only able to find one person who said they heard the announcement, and they say the police only said it once.
Bart Pitchford, a theater professor at UM, agreed that with Cumming’s sentiment that it was good that the no-knock warrant had been banned in Louisville and hoped to see it removed everywhere.
“Good first step, but at the end of the day, no one was held culpable,” said Pitchford.
According to Pitchford, a lot of the responsibility for police reforms would have to come from individual departments and not from the federal government, though he did believe the federal government had a role to play.
“Federal government could stop selling weapons to police that mimic weapons of war,” said Pitchford.
Around 1:45 p.m., the local McDonalds across the street sent over employees with two trays of water for the protestors.
At one point a white man in a truck rolled down his window while waiting at the light and shouted “all lives matter” to the protestors.
They responded by chanting “All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter” at him.
This continued in a back and forth pattern until the man drove away. He returned a few minutes later, appearing to have circled the block and shouted “all lives matter” while waving what looked to be a Trump 2020 bumper sticker.