Breonna Taylor’s death has prompted police reform, but family says there’s still work left to be done

Breonna Taylor’s death has prompted police reform, but family says there’s still work left to be done

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Five months after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by LMPD officers serving a warrant, those who knew her best continue to push for police reform.

Taylor’s death already has led to a ban on no-knock warrants in Metro Louisville and was part of the reason LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was fired.

Her friends and family, however, said more needs to be done. Taylor’s family said local police officers don’t have the right tools to do their jobs. On the five-month anniversary of Breonna’s death Thursday, they said they want further police reform.

Bianca Austin, Tahasha Holloway, and Elysia Bowman said they’ve seen the issues within the Louisville Metro Police Department for themselves while protesting for their niece and best friend.

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor

While down at the Jefferson Square protest site, they said they’ve seen calm situations escalated by police.

A woman protesting in downtown Louisville holds a sign quoting what Kenneth Walker told a 911 dispatcher the night his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, was killed.
A woman protesting in downtown Louisville holds a sign quoting what Kenneth Walker told a 911 dispatcher the night his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, was killed. (Source: John P. Wise/WAVE 3 News)

“That’s why we’re for police reform when we say we’re defunding the police,” said Austin, one of Taylor’s aunts. “We’re not saying take money from the police; we’re saying put money where it needs to go, and one of the places is training your police officers.”

They said officers don’t need to police a community, they need to be proactive. They added they want officers with experience who know the community and its people, officers who aren’t scared, and who get the support and guidance they need.

“They’re human, too,” said Holloway, another of Taylor’s aunts. “They experience trauma. They experience mental breakdowns, all of that stress. Someone on scene should be there to mentally help them cope with the situation that’s happening.”

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor

The women said police officers need trauma counselors, particularly at protest sites, and to have someone there to lift them up when they’re overwhelmed. That way, they can go back and do their jobs in the right headspace, the women said. At the same time, they said the Taylor case is an example of why police must be held accountable.

“How can you look around an apartment and a beautiful young woman lying on the ground dead literally and look around and say, ‘She got any injuries ... none,’” Bowman said, referring to the LMPD report, which marked there were no injuries. Taylor was shot five times, and LMPD said Officer Jon Mattingly was shot in the upper leg.

Taylor’s aunts said police reform could save lives and protect officers.

“This is us caring about the police officers who did this to our niece,” Holloway said.

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