First, Oprah Winfrey put Breonna Taylor on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine. Now the media mogul is spreading her message with billboards demanding justice for the Kentucky woman shot dead during a police raid.
Twenty-six billboards displaying a portrait of Taylor are going up across Louisville, Kentucky, demanding that the police officers involved in her death be arrested and charged, according to social justice organisation Until Freedom. That is one billboard for every year of the Black woman’s life.
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The billboards, funded by the magazine, showcase the magazine cover dedicated to Taylor, the Courier-Journal reported. Also displayed is a quote from Winfrey: “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”
Until Freedom thanked The Oprah Magazine for its work on the billboards.
“Together, we will make sure no one forgets #BreonnaTaylor’s name and recommit to the fight for justice for her and her family,” the group said in a tweet.
Taylor, an emergency medical tech studying to become a nurse, was shot multiple times on March 13 when police officers burst into her Louisville apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant to search her home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there and no drugs were found.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, was originally charged with attempted murder after he fired a shot at one of the officers who came into the home. Walker has said he did not know who was entering the apartment and was firing a warning shot. The charge was later dropped.
Global protests on behalf of Taylor, George Floyd in Minnesota and others have been part of a national reckoning over racism and police brutality. Tensions have swelled in Taylor’s hometown and beyond as activists, professional athletes and social media celebrities push for action while investigators pleaded for more patience.
The decision whether to bring state-level criminal charges against the Louisville officers rests with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. He took the Taylor case after a local prosecutor recused himself from reviewing the matter. One of the officers has been terminated and two other officers are on administrative reassignment.
Cameron, the first Black American elected to the attorney general’s job in Kentucky, has declined to put a timetable on his decision since taking over the case in May.
Cameron told the Courier-Journal in a Thursday interview that his office is waiting for information on ballistics tests the FBI has been conducting.
“An integral part of this investigation is: what will those ballistics tests show. And so we are in the process of trying to get that information back from the FBI,” he told the Louisville newspaper.
The FBI field office in Louisville said on Friday that a “significant amount of ballistic evidence” was collected when investigators returned to Taylor’s apartment in June.
“This evidence is being tested and analyzed at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia,” the FBI’s Louisville office said in a statement. “Once the FBI Laboratory has completed its findings, FBI Louisville will promptly share our results with the attorney general’s office.”
Christopher 2X, an anti-violence activist in Louisville, told reporters this week that he is encouraged by the commitment that FBI officials locally and nationally have shown to the case. He commented after participating in a meeting at the FBI’s Louisville office.