Hundreds protested in Denver on Wednesday night against a grand jury's decision not to charge police officers in connection with Breonna Taylor’s death. Taylor, 26, was shot and killed in her apartment by three Louisville Metro Police officers on March 13.
“Today wasn’t justice,” said Shenika Carter of Caravan for Racial Justice at the protest. “There is right and there is wrong, and that was wrong. Protect Black women.”
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for endangering the lives of Taylor’s neighbors by firing into the walls. Hankison was the only one of the three officers dismissed from the force.
No officer was charged in Taylor's death.
The protest began with speeches at the Capitol, progressing to a march down the 16th Street Mall and eventually leading to Sen. Cory Gardner's office on the corner of 19th and Stout streets.
Protesters called for the federal government to step in to provide justice for Taylor, requesting the removal of all three officers from the police force.
“Justice will never truly be served because she is dead. But the closest thing we can get is a total divest of everything that allowed this to happen,” said Jordan from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who preferred not to use her last name.
The Louisville officers were executing a no-knock warrant, causing Taylor’s boyfriend to mistake them for intruders as they rammed in the apartment door. Taylor’s boyfriend fired his handgun, striking one officer in the leg.
The officers then fired a total of 32 shots through Taylor’s apartment and two adjoining ones. Taylor, a Black medical worker, was shot five times by the officers.
The city of Louisville announced it had agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million over her death on Sept. 15.
Taylor’s death was a major event in fueling protests against racism and police brutality across the country.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released a statement Wednesday, saying he was disappointed with the result of Taylor’s case.
“It only further underscores the need to hasten conversations between law enforcement and the African American community, focused on the values of life and humanity for all, development of mutual respect and trust, and meaningful systemic change,” Hancock said in the statement.
However, during the speeches many protesters pointed to Denver’s own issues regarding police violence. State Rep. Leslie Herod was present, calling the police enforcers of white supremacy.
“In Colorado, people are dying at the hands of law enforcement,” Herod said. “In Colorado, DAs refuse to prosecute murderers. In Denver right now we have a police helicopter circling us instead of circling the murderers of Elijah McClain.”
“So we fight, and we say we don't want you in our communities to murder us.”
The protest was peaceful with attendees stopping halfway through the march through 16th Street to kneel and have a moment of silence for Taylor. Police were present at the Capitol and at Gardner's office.
Protests will resume this weekend with Saturday’s March for Black Women at 10 a.m. and PSL’s Drop the Charges march and rally at 3 p.m., both beginning at the statehouse.
“This is only the beginning,” Carter said. “Until the victory is won, we will march on.”