Breonna Taylor’s closest friends reflect on her life and public perception

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 10:57 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Saturday marked one year since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed.

Her friends and family told WAVE 3 News that she lived a life filled with love, and that she is now considered the missing link in their circle since her passing on March 13, 2020.

Preonia Flakes was last with her cousin when they danced, sang, and tried on dresses for an upcoming girls trip.

“[She was] getting ready to relax, and that was the last time I heard from her,” Flakes said. “The last time I Facetimed her — the last time I’ve seen her face.”

A few hours later, Taylor was infamously killed in an LMPD drug raid. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on officers after they rammed her apartment door in, telling investigators after the fact he thought they were home intruders.

The officers then opened fire, and Taylor was killed.

“I just wish I was there,” Flakes said, “because I was really supposed to be there that day. It just messes with me.”

A childhood friend of Taylor’s, Shantanis Baughn, recalled having dances and sleepovers in Taylor’s room.

She also said she hears people consistently criticizing Taylor’s character, something her cousin echoed.

“It’s like they try to find something wrong about her,” Baughn said. “Making up lies to justify the situation and pinning any little thing to make it seem like what happened to her was OK.”

“They were saying ‘That’s what she gets. She should have made better choices,’” Flakes said, “and it’s just like, you don’t know her at all.”

Her friends said Taylor was silly, always laughing and served as their support system.

They still question the actions of the officers involved in her death a year later.

“Why didn’t you check on her? Why didn’t you save her life? Why didn’t you call EMS for her?” Taylor’s high school friend, Elysia Bowman, said.

The shooting has caused Whitney Johnson, another high school friend, to question the city and police department’s character.

“Where’s the remorse?” Johnson asked.

“Why couldn’t you do that when someone was awake and alert and not thinking somebody was breaking in her house?” Bowan agreed.

Bowman said their circle is going to keep pushing for answers, especially for Taylor’s mother.

“It’s like they snatched her baby from her and were like, ‘Well, it’s just another day,’” Bowman said. “My heart goes out to her mother. Sometimes I don’t even know what to say to her.”

The friends said they’ll also keep pushing for answers on behalf of their missing link.

“[Taylor] used to always say ‘Once you give up, you will always give up,’” Flakes said.

“They will pay for what they did to her,” Bowman said, “because what they did was wrong.”

They wonder how the case would have ended if Taylor was a different race and add they don’t want another year to pass before they get answers from the federal investigation into her death.

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