Beyoncé Demands Justice for Breonna Taylor in Powerful Letter to Kentucky's Attorney General
"Don't let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy," Beyoncé said
In a letter to Cameron, which shared on her website, the "Halo" singer, 38, asked for "swift and decisive action" be taken in charging Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, who were all placed on administrative reassignment but were not criminally charged.
"Three months have passed — and the LMPD’s investigations have created more questions than answers," Beyoncé wrote. "Their incident report states that Ms. Taylor suffered no injuries — yet we know she was shot at least eight times. The LMPD officers claim they announced themselves before forcing their way into Ms. Taylor’s apartment — but her boyfriend who was with her, as well as several neighbors, all say that this is untrue."
"Three months have passed — and zero arrests have been made, and no officers have been fired," the mother of three added. "The LMPD’s investigation was turned over to your office, and yet all of the officers involved in the shooting remain employed by the LMPD. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison must be held accountable for their actions.”
The Lion King star then listed her three demands to be carried out by Cameron: criminal charges be made against all three officers, transparency into the investigation and an examination into the LMPD's response to Taylor's murder.
“Don’t let this case fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy,” she wrote. “With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it. This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers. The next months cannot look like the last three.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was killed at her home on March 13 at around 12:30 a.m. by police officers who were investigating a drug dealer. Although the dealer didn't live there (and had, in fact, just been arrested at a different location), officers alleged that he had once picked up a package at Taylor's residence. The officers had secured a “no knock” search warrant, allowing them to enter without warning.
Police have said they knocked and identified themselves before entering the home, but witnesses have disputed that claim.
Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was with her at the time and said thought it was a break-in, shot his gun, hitting one of the officers in the thigh. The police fired back more than 20 shots, hitting Taylor at least eight times and killing her.
Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but those charges were dropped on May 22, after the FBI opened an investigation into the case.
Recently, Taylor's name has been invoked in the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism that followed the May 25 killing of George Floyd.
Following protests and nationwide outrage, the Louisville city council voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants. Sen. Rand Paul also introduced the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act to bring the legislation to the rest of the country.
“I'm so grateful for people wanting justice, and just standing up and trying to be a voice for her,” Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer recently told PEOPLE. “It's heartbreaking this stuff is just happening all over the world."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.