A fundraiser for the family of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was shot and killed by police in her home, has surpassed $5.4 million in just five days. The GoFundMe page was set up by Taylor's aunt, Bianca Austin, to help Taylor's mother and sister.
Taylor's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three Louisville Metro police officers involved in Taylor's death, all of whom are on administrative leave but none of whom have been charged with a crime.
"My sister and niece are too proud to say it, but this is a tough fight and it does take a toll," Austin wrote on the GoFundMe page. "They’re both hard workers and they’re missing out on some work (and sleep!) in this fight for justice."
Friday would have been Taylor's 27th birthday, and protesters in cities across the country held photos of her, lit candles and sang "Happy Birthday" in her honor. Activists and Taylor's family are sharing her story using the hashtags #SayHerName so that her story won't be forgotten. And as of publication, more than 185,000 people had donated more than $5,446,000 to help Taylor's family so far.
Taylor, who worked as an EMT, was shot and killed on March 13 when three police officers executing a no-knock warrant used a battering ram to enter her Louisville, Kentucky apartment at around 1 a.m. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping at the time and thought the police were burglars, according to Taylor's family's wrongful death lawsuit.
Walker allegedly opened fire on the police with the gun he was licensed to carry and one officer was shot in the leg, police said. The lawsuit claims police then fired more than 20 rounds into the couple's home "blindly," and eight of those bullets hit Taylor.
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.
But Taylor and Walker's neighbors said police did not identify themselves, according to the family’s lawsuit.
Neither Taylor nor Walker were the subjects of the police warrant. Officers were looking for a man who had been arrested earlier in the day. Police say they had suspected that Taylor’s home was being used by another person to receive drugs. Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal history and no drugs were found in the home.
Walker, 27, was charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer in the incident. Walker had previously pleaded not guilty and been released to "home incarceration” before a judge dismissed the charges last month.
The FBI has launched an investigation into the shooting. Taylor's family is continuing to fight for justice.