The family of Breonna Taylor has called for peace and calm in Louisville after seven people were shot, including one critically, during a night of protests. Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, urged people marching in her daughter’s name to “keep it peaceful,” according to WLKY.
The march, which occurred Thursday night as hundreds took to the streets to demand justice in the March 13 slaying of Taylor, who was killed when police armed with a “no knock” warrant opened fire on the apartment while she was sleeping.
“We are so grateful for everyone giving Bre a voice tonight, for saying her name, for demanding truth, for demanding justice and for demanding accountability,” her aunt Bianca Austin said in a statement to WLKY. “Please keep demanding this. But please keep it peaceful. Do not succumb to the levels that we see out of the police. Speak. Protest. But do not resort to violence. We demand change. We demand reform. But we do not need for our community to get hurt. We need for our community to get justice. Thank you all so very much.”
In a video posted to social media via Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher’s account, Taylor's sister, Juniyah Palmer, urged protesters to go home but said to keep fighting.
"Thank you so much for saying Breonna's name tonight. We are not going to stop until we get justice, but we should stop tonight before people get hurt," Juniyah Palmer said. "Please go home, be safe, and be ready to keep fighting. We appreciate you more than you know it. Please say her name. We will get justice for Breonna."
The protests began as a peaceful movement around 6 p.m., but hours later, tear gas and gunfire erupted. Seven people were shot, one of whom is in critical condition, in protests that raged for more than six hours.
Shaquille Lord, a reporter with WLKY, posted video of the riots on his Twitter account.
Police said that only one arrest was made Thursday night but it was not in relation to the shooting.
"No officers discharged their service weapons," police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
Thursday’s protests and riots in Louisville happened the same night people took to the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul to protest the government response to the death of George Floyd.
The families of Floyd, Taylor and Ahmed Aurbery released a joint statement Friday, through their attorneys, Benjamin Crump and Lee Merit.
“We’re devastated about the senseless violence that has broken the hearts of our families. While we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support, it’s important that now – more than ever – we use our voices to enact change, demand accountability within our justice system and keep the legacies of Breonna, Ahmaud and George alive. This is a national crisis and our government needs to take immediate and widespread action to protect our black and brown communities.”
Their calls for change come amid the release of the 911 call made by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend who was also in the apartment.
"I don't know what happened ... somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend," Walker told the 911 dispatcher.
He was asked where his girlfriend was shot, to which he replied: "I don't know, she is on the ground right now. I don't know, I don't know."
During the two-minute call he yelled “help!” and “oh my God!” as Taylor lay unresponsive.
Police obtained a no-knock warrant before using a battering ram to enter Taylor's apartment at around 1 a.m. on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation, according to court documents obtained by the Louisville-Courier Journal.
It was announced last week that the FBI is now investigating the death of Taylor.
Taylor's family has filed a lawsuit against three officers with the department, alleging Taylor and her boyfriend were home in bed and thought they were being burglarized when officers showed up at their home after midnight. Walker allegedly opened fire on cops with his licensed weapon and one officer was shot in the leg, police said. The lawsuit says police then fired more than 20 round into the home “blindly.”
Louisville police claim they knocked on Taylor’s door several times while executing their warrant before entering and identified themselves as police before they were “immediately met by gunfire,” according to Lt. Ted Eidem.
Neighbors of Taylor and Walker, however, said police did not identify themselves, according to the family’s lawsuit. Walker called 911 during the ordeal and police informed him he’d shot an officer.
Neither Taylor nor Walker were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used by another person to receive drugs. Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal history and no drugs were located in the home.
The charges against Walker were dismissed last week.