The Story of Breonna Taylor

With the recent protests across the United States calling for “Justice For Breonna Taylor”, let’s take a deeper look into what Breonna’s life was like prior to her death and the actions that took place the night she passed.

Breonna Taylor was a young woman who was dealt a tough hand in life. She was born to a teenage mom, and a father who went to prison for life when she was only 6 years old. She pushed beyond the circumstances of her limitations. Breonna showed an interest in health care at a very young age, and in the 9th grade she got her first job at a fast food restaurant. Her friends always knew her as a hard worker, and someone who was always there for her friends. Taylor was the first person in her family to graduate highschool, she then went on to college. 

She met Kenny Walker, her soon to be boyfriend, on Twitter. Kenny identified Breonna as a lifelong partner. He said that she was the only one who looked out for him. Everyone close to Breonna described Kenny as someone who loved her very much. In 2016, Breonna and Kenny began dating, but Breonna also began talking to another man by the name of Jemaracus Glover. In many ways he was the opposite of Kenny. Jemaracus was a twice convicted drug dealer then, and was in and out of prison multiple times. He came into her life at one of her lowest times.

She had started college but dropped out because she was homesick and missed her family dearly. Taylor then got her EMT certification and worked as a first responder. But after a year into the job, she quit due to long 16 hour shifts and little pay. Soon into her new relationship with Jemaracus Glover, his problems became hers.

The police came knocking on Taylor’s apartment door one night, because a car she rented was found deserted with a man found dead at the wheel. Breonna had given the car to Jemaracus to use for the day, he then handed the car over to another man, who was later found dead in the vehicle, riddled with bullets, and sitting next to multiple baggies of drugs. The man found in the car was the brother of one of Glover’s associates, who was a member of a criminal drug centicut. The police notes from their interviews with Taylor and Glover came to the conclusion that Taylor had no foriegn knowledge of the whole situation, they were then free to go.

In the next four years she was in an on again and off again relationship with Kenny and Jemaracus. When she was with Jemaracus she was always entangled in his problems, and his run ins with the police. He asked her to pay his bail twice in 2017, and later in 2019 she paid the bail of another accused drug dealer, who was an associate of Jemarcus. A new squad was created in Louisville that focused on specific areas of crime. Once a micro location is found they begin putting police resources into the location. The squad identified an area of the city with the highest crime rate, and closed in on a street named the 2400th block of Elliot Avenue.

In January of 2020 a pole camera was put up, and within an hour of the pole being up they had noticed that 15 to 20 cars had stopped at 2424 Elliot Avenue. Which was one of the four trap houses that Jemaracus Glover ran. On January 2nd police ran the plates of a car that had stopped in front of the building, they later found that the car had belonged to Breonna Taylor. On January 3rd, Jemaracus was arrested, and made multiple phone calls to Breonna from jail. In one call he asks her to arrange his bail by talking to one of his associates. Eventually Glover gets out of jail, and the police continue to serve the 2400th Block. They even put a GPS tracker on Jemaracus’ car, which showed he made repeated trips in January between Breonna’s apartment and the trap house. The police were even sent to serve Taylor’s apartment.

Breonna at the start of the year told a friend that she was coming for everything this year. In the sense that 2020 was going to be her year. When she left her job as an EMT, she found a new one working as an emergency room technician, and another job at a separate hospital. Her life began on a positive path, as she broke up with Jemararcus for good, bought a new car, and began saving for a house. Breonna then committed to a relationship with Kenny Walker, and they even began talking about marriage and babies. But police at this time realized they had enough evidence to hit 5 locations, which they believe were connected to Jemaracus Glovers drug centicut.

Four of which were on or around Elliot Avenue, and those were trap houses operated by Jemaracus. The 5th location was the home of Breonna Taylor. Leading up to the day of the police raid at Breonna’s apartment, she had worked 4 overnight shifts at the hospital. She spent the day with her boyfriend Kenny Walker. The couple went to a steakhouse for dinner and then headed to Breonna’s apartment around 9pm. They would normally go back to Kenny’s apartment where he lived alone. They wouldn’t normally go to Taylor’s because she lived with her little sister and her 2 year old goddaughter who would spend most nights there. But the night of March 12th, her sister and god daughter were both gone for the night. So Breonna and Kenny went to her apartment because they knew they would have the place to themselves. The pair played uno, baked cookies, ate ice cream, and watched a movie. Breonna almost fell asleep during the uno game, so they went to the bed and fell asleep while watching a movie. Outside Taylor’s apartment around 10 pm police began circling around the parking lot, in preparation for a coordinated raid. Which aimed to gather evidence of what they believed was a criminal drug centicutrun by Jemarcus Glover, Breonna’s ex- boyfriend.

Around 12:35 am, police pulled in one last time, got out of the car, and in tackle vests, lined up in front of Breonna’s apartment door. Leader of the raid, officer Johnathan Mattingly, and  two other officers were given a knock and announce warrant. So the officers claim they banged on the door multiple times and yelled “police” multiple times as well. Breonna and Kenny heard the banging on the door and woke up frightened. They believed it was Breonna’s ex boyfriend, who  had showed up to her apartment once before. So Kenny grabbed his registered gun, which he had never fired outside of a gun range. Witnesses in the apartment complex say they did not hear police announce themselves, and only knock on the door. Only one witness said he heard police announce themselves once. Officer Mattingly says after a minute of knocking and announcing themselves they decided to ram the door in. They got the door off its hinges after the 3rd hit. Kenny says the door flew open and he shot one time immediately. Officer Mattingly claims right when he opened the door he saw a women figure and a male figure with his arms facing forward, and he had what looked to be a gun. Mattingly after he heard one shot which hit him in his femoral artery, shot multiple times.

Officer Cosgrove called for an ambulance for Mattingly, and rushed to get him to it. In this panic Officer Brett Hankinson broke formation and ran to the front of the apartment building. He then proceeded to shoot blindly into Breonna’s patio window, and her other window. Both of which had closed blinds, so he did not know what he was shooting at. Behind Breonna’s apartment was a young pregnant woman and her 5 year old daughter, their rooms were not in the line of fire but other rooms were as Hankinson shot multiple rounds into the apartment. Kenny says while shots were being fired he managed to get to the ground and crawled over to Breonna in another room, as she was laying on the floor shot, and bleeding out. At 12:46 am Kenny calls his mother and explains what just happened and she urges him to call 911. Kenny hangs up and calls 911 at 12:47 am, and at 12:49 am he calls Breonna’s mother. He then realizes the people outside were the police, and were calling him to come out. They tell him to come out walking backwards, he compiles but is crying and yelling that he was scared. Once they have detained Kenny the police finally go inside the apartment and find Breonna has already passed.

The police hours before the raid assumed Breonna had lived alone, knowing nothing about her little sister, her god daughter, or Kenny Walker. Officer Brett Hankinson was later fired in June. The Police Chief said Hankinson “displayed extreme indifference to the value of a human life when he wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor. Breonna’s autopsy report has since then not been released, nor has the officers body camera footage and the interviews after the raid of Hankinson and Cosgrove. Protests have been ongoing all across the country, calling for “Justice for Breonna Taylor”. The City Council passed “Breonna’s Law”, that makes no knock search warrants illegal in Louisville. They are trying to make the law national. As protests have continued, protesters call for the arrest of the 3 officers who opened fire that night, to be criminally charged, arrested, and sent to prison. On Wednesday, September 24th, Officer Hankinson was charged with Wanton Endangerment, a much lesser charge then what protesters across the country called for. Officials say that the charge of murder for all 3 officers is very unlikely. 

Breonna always valued friendship and her family. She kept a scrapbook of memorable moments of her life. On the page containing pictures from her high school graduation, Breonna wrote about how she wanted to be the one who changed the educational history in her family. Breonna wanted to make a difference in her family. She wanted to be the one everyone looked up to with proud, smiling faces.

This is the story of Breonna Shaquille Taylor.

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