Breonna Taylor’s Death Sparked Police Reform in Louisville.

Breonna Taylor’s Death Sparked Police Reform in Louisville.

Police Reform Sparks From Breonna Taylor’s Death

In the wake of Breonna Taylor‘s death at the hands of police officers a year ago, Louisville has embraced a series of sweeping and historic police reforms.

It banned no-knock search warrants that allow officers to burst in unannounced like the one police obtained to search Taylor’s home.

It created a civilian review board and inspector general to review questionable actions by Louisville Metro Police and is lobbying to grant them subpoena power.

It hired a new chief who has vowed to police Black and white neighborhoods the same.

It paid tens of thousands of dollars for a consultant’s top-to-bottom review that recommended 102 fixes for a police department it deemed “in crisis.”

And it has weighed or considered additional changes – some that go beyond policing to address the root causes of poverty and violence.

But the question persists: Will it be enough?

Will it stop another tragedy like the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black ER tech who was unarmed when she was shot in her apartment on March 13, 2020?

Will it begin to restore faith in law enforcement in a Black community that has been subjected to over-policing and unequal treatment for decades?

In the year since Taylor’s death, officials have scrambled to respond to the anger that has spilled onto Louisville’s streets – sparking more than 180 consecutive days of protest from those demanding racial justice and promises of more demonstrations to come.

They want results. Now.

“Breonna was our boomerang. Breonna was the Black people’s 9/11,” protester Stachelle Bussey said. “Because of Breonna, things … will no longer be the same.

“We are serious about this, about not just settling for one thing.”

Khalilah Collins, a Louisville native who has participated in demonstrations, said attention in the coming year will center on putting accountability behind the reforms that have been promised – as well as challenging the systems that have been holding back Louisville’s Black residents.

“What we’re seeing is people awakening to what’s going on. That’s going to be part of her legacy: people standing up for what they believe in and challenging systems in a way Louisville has never seen,” Collins said.

“Reforms that have been suggested and implemented is part. But we’re not done yet.”

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Some of the reforms could have an effect on the way searches are conducted in Jefferson County.

But other measures have lagged or faced significant obstacles before they can be implemented.

Still, others hinge on how effectively they’re used and monitored.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who has been a target of protesters’ anger, told The Courier-Journal “we’ll never know” if the reforms the city has adopted could have prevented Taylor’s death had they been in place.

Stay tuned to HonkNews for the latest updates.