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One year after her killing, Breonna Taylor's hometown marches in her honor

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Breonna Taylor's cousin, Tawanna Gordon, center, leads about 100 people in a march to honor Taylor in Grand Rapids.

One year after police in Louisville, Kentucky shot and killed Breonna Taylor, her family members marched down the street now named for her in her old hometown of Grand Rapids.

About 100 others joined them, to remember Taylor, and to continue the calls for police reform in Grand Rapids and elsewhere.

“She couldn’t sleep!” Taylor’s cousin Erica Eaves chanted.

“You can’t either!” supporters responded.

"We're here ... every day we have to show up because she's not."

Police officers in Louisville shot and killed Taylor while she was in her bed on the night of March 13, 2020. They were executing a warrant for someone else. Her boyfriend Kenneth Walker said he mistook the police officers for robbers, and fired his gun at them. The officers returned a hail of gunfire, killing Taylor in her bed.

“We still haven’t arrived at the place where we’re ready to accept that she’s gone,” said cousin Tawann Gordon in Grand Rapids on Saturday. “And so for us, we’re here. And, I mean, every day we have to show up because she’s not.”

Gordon and other family members say they’re still fighting for justice for Taylor, a year after her death. Since then, none of the officers who fired their weapons that night have been charged. At least three officers who were connected to the raid no longer work on the force.

But family members say more needs to be done, in Louisville, Grand Rapids and elsewhere for police to better serve their communities.

Credit Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Breonna Taylor Way in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We’re not a hating police family,” Gordon says. “We don’t hate police. We know that they’re needed. We know that our community needs them. We just want to make sure that the police officers that they’re hiring are there to serve the community.”

Gordon stood in downtown Grand Rapids after the march, along the street now named Breonna Taylor Way.

“It took a lot of work to get Breonna Taylor Way,” she said. “And we are very honored that we could host her anniversary march on the street that they dedicated to her.” 

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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