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Shots Fired At Louisville Protest Over The Death Of Breonna Taylor


Thousands of people in the streets, a police precinct set on fire, more anger and pain in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd but not just in that city. There were also protests in several other places, including New York.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

MARTIN: And in Louisville, Ky., at least seven people were shot.


MARTIN: Hundreds packed downtown Louisville demanding justice for another life lost at the hands of police - Breonna Taylor. Taylor is the black woman who was shot by police back in March - police conducting a raid on her residence. Joining us now from Louisville, reporter Amina Elahi of member station WFPL. Amina, thanks for being with us. You were out in those protests last night. What did you see?

AMINA ELAHI, BYLINE: We heard and saw a lot of amazing images and sounds. People gathered, at first, peacefully demanding justice, demanding accountability for the police officers who took Breonna Taylor's life. In addition, we saw people there with young children who wanted them to see why it's important to be aware of the risks of being African American in America. And we also saw some people who were causing trouble. You know, as you mentioned, seven people were shot. The police tell us that they were all civilians and that no police officers fired their weapons last night. The latest update we got from the mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, is that five of the seven people are in good condition and two of them have been sent to surgery, although we haven't gotten any more information on them yet this morning.

MARTIN: Can you remind us about the circumstances of Breonna Taylor's death?

ELAHI: Yes. Police officers entered Breonna Taylor's apartment after midnight on March 13 as part of a drug investigation. Breonna Taylor was not the main target of that investigation, but she had previously had a relationship with the person who was. The police say that they knocked and loudly announced themselves and gave her time to come to the door. But perhaps because it was late and she had been asleep, she wasn't able to make it to the door in the time that they were hoping, so they broke it down. By then, she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was there with her that night, were scared. And Kenneth Walker says that he fired a warning shot at the police because he thought some intruder was breaking in. The police fired back more than 20 shots and eight of them struck Breonna Taylor and killed her.

MARTIN: So this, as we've noted, happened back in March. Protesters are still on the streets. Clearly, they feel like justice hasn't been served. Where does the case stand?

ELAHI: The investigation into the case is still ongoing with the police. They have turned some results over to the state's attorney general who will be reviewing it, as well as to the FBI. But we learned from the FBI last week that they will be conducting their own investigation. You've also heard people on the national scale, such as Senator Kamala Harris, call for the Department of Justice to investigate. But so far, the public is still waiting to get the results of the police's internal investigation and to see what the FBI turns up.

MARTIN: I mean, how have officials responded to all this? Has the police department made any changes?

ELAHI: There have been some changes that have mainly come down from the mayor's office. He has instituted some greater controls on no-knock warrants such as requiring that they be signed off on by the chief of police before they're taken to a judge for approval; also attempting to expand when and how body cameras are used. And now, the city is looking into creating a civilian oversight board. There are a lot of questions about how much control that civilian review board might have - for example, whether it might have subpoena power. And they're actually having their first workgroup meeting today to figure out what the structure of that might be. But in terms of the major reforms or concerns that the public is asking for, we haven't seen much of that yet nor have any officials been willing to say that the arrest and firing of the officers involved in the shooting is a step that we can anticipate.

MARTIN: All right, we'll see if protests continue into the weekend. WFPL's Amina Elahi in Louisville, thank you.

ELAHI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Amina Elahi
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