On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Brett Hankison, and Detective Myles Cosgrove forced entry into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky under the authority of a search warrant. Gunfire was exchanged between Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and LMPD officers. Walker said he believed that the officers were intruders. The LMPD officers fired over twenty shots, Taylor was shot eight times and Mattingly was injured by gunfire. Another police officer and an LMPD lieutenant were on the scene when the warrant was executed.
The LMPD investigation was searching for two people who were already in police custody and suspected of selling controlled substances from a drug house more than 10 miles (16 km) away.One of the people in custody, Jamarcus Glover, had a prior relationship with Taylor. The search warrant included Taylor’s residence because it was suspected of receiving drugs in the case and because a car registered to Taylor had been seen parked on several occasions in front of Glover’s house. No drugs were found in the apartment.
Walker was licensed to carry a firearm and fired first, injuring a law enforcement officer, whereupon police returned fire into the apartment with more than 20 rounds. According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the police by the Taylor family’s attorney, the officers entered the home without knocking or announcing that they were police officers, and allegedly opened fire “with a total disregard for the value of human life.”
- Breonna Taylor (June 5, 1993 – March 13, 2020) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her parents were Tamika Palmer and Troy Herrod. She graduated from Western High School and went on to study at the University of Kentucky. She was an emergency medical technician and worked at two hospitals, the University of Louisville Jewish Hospital and Norton Healthcare. At the time of her death, she was working for the University of Louisville Health. Her funeral was held on March 21, 2020.
- Kenneth Walker was Taylor’s boyfriend, who lived with her in the apartment.
- Jonathan Mattingly is an LMPD police sergeant who joined the department in 2000.
- Brett Hankison is an LMPD plainclothes detective.
- Myles Cosgrove is an LMPD plainclothes detective.
Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Louisville police entered the apartment of Breonna Taylor, and Kenneth Walker using a battering ram to force open the door. The police were investigating two men they believed were selling drugs. The Taylor/Walker home was included in a signed “no-knock” search warrant because police said one of the men used it to receive packages. The suspected drug dealer had allegedly been seen walking into Taylor’s apartment one January afternoon with a USPS package before leaving and driving to a known drug house, and the warrant said a US Postal Inspector confirmed that the man had been receiving packages at the apartment. Postal Inspector Tony Gooden has said that his office had told police there were no packages of interest being received there.
Louisville police allegedly announced themselves while entering the home after knocking several times and saying they were Louisville police officers with a search warrant. Neighbors and Taylor’s family dispute this, saying there was no announcement and that Walker and Taylor believed someone was breaking in, causing Walker to act in self-defense. Walker said in his police interrogation that Taylor yelled multiple times, “Who is it?” after hearing a loud bang at the door, but received no answer and that he then armed himself. Walker, a licensed firearm carrier, shot first, striking a police officer in the leg; in response, the officers opened fire with more than 20 rounds, hitting objects in the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms. Taylor was shot at least eight times and pronounced dead at the scene. No drugs were found in the apartment. According to anonymous sources who spoke to WAVE3 News, one of the three officers allegedly fired blindly from the exterior of the residence, through a window with closed blinds and curtains; the sources said they do not believe Taylor was struck by any of the bullets fired by the officer who was outside.
Investigations and legal proceedings
All officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of an investigation.
Walker initially faced criminal charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. The LMPD officers said they announced themselves before entering the home and were immediately met with gunfire from Walker. Walker discharged his firearm first, injuring an officer. Walker’s lawyer said Walker thought that someone was entering the residence illegally and that Walker acted only in self-defense. The 911 calls were later released to the public, with Walker recorded telling the 911 operator, “somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend”. Walker was later released from jail due to coronavirus concerns, which drew criticism from Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad.
On May 22, Judge Olu Stevens released Walker from home incarceration. In late May, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine moved to dismiss all charges against Walker. The case could be presented to a grand jury again after reviewing the results of the FBI’s and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office’s investigations. Wine dropped the charges because the officers never mentioned Taylor by name to the grand jury or that they shot her. Walker’s close friends said that his job was to protect Taylor at any cost. Rob Eggert, an attorney representing Walker, released a statement saying, “he just wanted to resume his life”. At the same time, his attorney said that he could be charged again later as more facts come out of the shooting.
On May 15, Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. It states that Taylor and Walker were sleeping in their bedroom before the incident happened and that the police officers were in unmarked vehicles. None of the officers were wearing body cameras, as all three were plainclothes narcotics officers. Taylor and Walker thought their home had been broken into by criminals and that “they were an insignificant imminent danger.” The lawsuit alleges that “the officers then entered Breonna’s home without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers. The Defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life.”
On May 21, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Louisville office announced it had opened an investigation. Robert Brown, a special agent in charge for the office, said, “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner.”
On May 14, photos were released to the public in The Courier-Journal by Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing Taylor’s family. The photos show bullet damage in their apartment and the apartment next door.
On May 21, after intense local and national criticism for the department’s handling of the case, Police Chief Steve Conrad announced his retirement, effective June 30. The LMPD has also announced that it will require all sworn officers to wear body cameras and will change how it carries out search warrants.
On May 27, the LMPD said it had received multiple death threats like “All cops need to die” and “kill pigs”. On May 20, officers were responding to a 911 call near Taylor’s apartment and multiple people threw pieces of concrete at them and then ran away. No officers were injured.
On May 29, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer indefinitely suspended the use of “no knock” warrants.
On June 1, Police Chief Conrad was fired after the fatal shooting of black business owner David McAtee.
On May 26, 2020, multiple protesters, including friends and family of Taylor, surrounded Mayor Fischer’s office, demanding the three officers be arrested and charged with murder.
On May 28, 500 to 600 demonstrators marched in Downtown Louisville, chanting, “No justice, no peace, prosecute police!” and “Breonna, Breonna, Breonna! The protests continued into the early morning of May 29, when seven people were shot; one was in critical condition. At the same time, Taylor’s sister, Juniyah Palmer, posted on her Facebook page, “At this point, y’all are no longer doing this for my sister! You guys are just vandalizing stuff for NO reason, I had a friend ask people why they are there most didn’t even know the ‘protest’ was for my sister.” These protests and demonstrations were part of the nationwide reaction to the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25.
For weeks after Taylor’s death, there was a very little public reaction or response from government officials.The LMPD has not provided many details about the shooting or answers to questions about the case. Taylor’s death gained national attention when activist Shaun King posted about her shooting death on social media. On May 13, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear responded to reports about Taylor’s death and said the public deserved to know everything about the March raid. Beshear requested that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and local and federal prosecutors review the Louisville police’s initial investigation “to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind.” On May 14, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad announced they had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney to review the local findings of the Public Integrity Unit’s investigation when it is completed.
‘Honor her life’: Oprah, Alicia Keys more celebrities celebrate Breonna Taylor’s birthday
Breonna Taylor, an unarmed African-American woman who was fatally shot by police on March 13, would have turned 27 on Friday, and celebrities are taking to social media to celebrate her birthday and honor her life.
This week has seen nights of protests sparked by Taylor’s death, prompting Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer to announce Wednesday several initiatives regarding the city’s police department, including a “top-to-bottom” review.
The review, to be conducted by an external, independent firm, will focus on a number of areas — including training, bias-free policing and accountability — after police executing a search warrant shot and killed Taylor, an ER technician, in her home.
Oprah Winfrey recognized Taylor’s birthday in a Twitter post with the artwork of Taylor and the hashtag #BreonnaTaylor.
Winfrey wrote, “Today would’ve been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. But she’s not here to celebrate, because shortly after midnight on March 13 Louisville police entered her apartment unannounced – and after a brief confrontation with her boyfriend, shot her eight times. The officers have not been fired or charged.”
Winfrey continued by remembering Taylor as an “award-winning EMT” who “doesn’t even get to celebrate her birthday.”
“In our fight to remind the world that Black Lives Matter, we need to remember those Black lives also include Black women,” Winfrey said. “So on what would’ve been her 27th birthday today, let’s speak her name: Breonna Taylor.”
Another star who joined in on celebrating Taylor’s birthday was Alicia Keys, who posted a video of her singing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor.
“She was an essential worker murdered by the police while she was sleeping,” Keys captioned the post. “She should be alive to celebrate! But instead, no charges have been issued and no arrests have been made with the officers involved.”
In follow-up tweets, Keys urged her followers to join her in making calls to demand a special prosecutor investigate the Louisville police department. She said, “Even if no one picks up, they see the volume of calls and they know why!! Let’s keep calling!!!”
Regina King also shared information about Taylor.
“Today would’ve been #BreonnaTaylor ‘s 27th birthday. She was a full-time EMT at 2 hospitals in Lville, Ky. She was a beloved & respected essential worker, an aspiring nurse, who dedicated her life at an early age to helping others. Pray for her family & honor her life. Here’s how,” she tweeted with an infographic about ways people can take action.
Janelle Monáe urged her followers to “keep the same energy for #BreonnaTaylor.”
“DEMAND JUSTICE THE COPS BELOW KILLED HER IN HER SLEEP AND ARE ROAMING FREE,” she continued in all-caps.
Kerry Washington tweeted out the hashtags #SayHerName, #BirthdayForBreonna and #JusticeForBreonna and urged followers to “DO WHAT YOU CAN” to honor Taylor’s life.
Ryan Seacrest shared an illustration of Taylor and suggestions “4 ways you can help and celebrate her birthday,” from signing a petition to saying her name.
“Today would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday,” Seacrest wrote. “She was an award-winning EMT who was shot and killed when police entered her home on a no-knock warrant.”
Nick Kroll, who shares his birthday with Taylor, asked his followers to join him “in honoring her memory by donating to her family & signing a petition to bring her killers to justice.”
Jessica Chastain also took part in urging followers to take action.
“Say. Her. Name. Today would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday,” she tweeted. “Please celebrate her by demanding justice in her name.”
Lucy Hale shared the same suggestions about calling and donating on Taylor’s behalf, and posted artwork by Gracie Lee.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREONNA,” Hale wrote. “YOUR LIFE MATTERED.”
Mira Sorvino echoed similar sentiments. She tweeted, “Let us honor Breonna Taylor’s life on what would have been her birthday with action.”
Vince Staples simply tweeted: “Happy Birthday Breonna Taylor !!”
Elijah Wood tagged politicians in his tweet about Taylor and urged them to “deliver justice for her by firing and charging the officers who killed her in her own home.”
Contributing: Ben Tobin, Louisville Courier Journal
‘Welcome to being black in America’: Gayle King, more celebs express fear about racism and their kids
Here’s What You Need to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death
Fury over the killing of Ms. Taylor by the police has been growing, driving tense demonstrations in Louisville, Ky., and elsewhere.
While the death last week of George Floyd in Minneapolis has unleashed a wave of protests across the country, fury over the killing of an African-American medical worker in Louisville, Ky., by the police has also been growing, driving tense demonstrations in that city.
On May 30, Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer, said he would institute a dusk-to-dawn curfew and call in the National Guard after protests had raged in the city. The night before, seven people were struck by gunfire during demonstrations.
What happened in Louisville?
Shortly after midnight on March 13, Louisville police officers, executing a search warrant, used a battering ram to crash into the apartment of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician. After a brief confrontation, they fired several shots, striking her at least eight times.
According to The Louisville Courier Journal, the police were investigating two men who they believed were selling drugs out of a house that was far from Ms. Taylor’s home. But a judge had also signed a warrant allowing the police to search Ms. Taylor’s residence because the police said they believed that one of the two men had used her apartment to receive packages. The judge’s order was a so-called no-knock warrant, which allowed the police to enter without warning or without identifying themselves as law enforcement.
Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said her daughter had had big dreams and planned a lifelong career in health care after serving as an E.M.T.
“She had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family,” Ms. Palmer told The Courier Journal. “Breonna had her head on straight, and she was a very decent person. She didn’t deserve this. She wasn’t that type of person.”
Why did the police fire their weapons?
The Louisville police say that they only fired inside Ms. Taylor’s home after they were first fired upon by Kenneth Walker, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her. They said that Mr. Walker wounded one of the officers, who was hit in a leg but was expected to make a full recovery. Mr. Walker was subsequently charged with the attempted murder of a police officer, though the charge was dismissed last month.
The police also assert that, despite having a no-knock warrant, they knocked several times and identified themselves as police officers with a warrant before entering the apartment. The police said that the officers then “forced entry into the exterior door and were immediately met with gunfire.” The officer who was wounded, and two others, then returned fire, the police said. The three officers have been placed on administrative reassignment.
Is the police account disputed?
Yes, hotly. Ms. Taylor’s relatives and their lawyers say that the police never identified themselves before entering — despite their claims. They also say that Mr. Walker was licensed to carry a gun.
And Mr. Walker, 27, has said that he feared for his life and only fired in self-defense, believing that someone was trying to break into the home.
“He didn’t know these were police officers, and they found no drugs in the apartment. None,” said Rob Eggert, Mr. Walker’s lawyer. “He was scared for his life, and her life.”
In a 911 call just after the shots were fired, Mr. Walker told a dispatcher that “somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” according to a recording released last week.
Ms. Taylor’s family also said it was outrageous that the police felt it necessary to conduct the raid in the middle of the night. Their lawyers say the police had already located the main suspect in the investigation by the time they burst into the apartment. But they “then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life,” according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Ms. Taylor’s mother.
There was no body camera footage from the raid. And, for now, at least, prosecutors have said they had dismissed the charges against Mr. Walker, adding that they would let investigations into the killing run their course before making any final decisions. Some legal experts said the fact that prosecutors dropped charges after a grand jury indictment suggested that they may have doubts about the version of events told by the police.
Why did this take so long to receive national attention?
Lawyers for Ms. Taylor’s family have suggested that the intense focus on the coronavirus pandemic over the past few months most likely dampened the initial response from people in the community and in the news media.
Has there been other fallout?
Plenty — even aside from the continuing protests.
The F.B.I. is now investigating the shooting. And Mayor Fischer, who called Ms. Taylor’s death “tragic,” later instituted a new policy requiring “no-knock” warrants to be endorsed by the police chief or someone designated by the chief before being sent to a judge for approval. Then last week, the mayor temporarily suspended all “no-knock” warrants.
Mayor Fischer has also announced other changes to ensure “more scrutiny, transparency and accountability,” including the naming of a new police chief; a new requirement that body cameras always be worn during the execution of search warrants; and the establishment of a civilian review board for police disciplinary matters.
Are there concerns about other cases in Louisville?
There are also calls for justice over the death of David McAtee, the owner of a Louisville barbecue restaurant, who was killed by the police on Monday morning.
The killing occurred when the police and the National Guard confronted curfew violators. The authorities say the police and the National Guard were returning Mr. McAtee’s fire in the commotion. But video showed that the police had first fired at least two pepper balls from outside the restaurant toward Mr. McAtee and his relatives. One of the balls struck a bottle on an outdoor table, and another nearly hit his niece in the head just before Mr. McAtee fired.
The use of pepper balls was intended to disperse a crowd outside of the restaurant in violation of the curfew. However, the gathering was not of protesters, those who were there said, but of residents who were out enjoying a Sunday night. The pepper balls may have been indistinguishable from other ammunition.
Mr. McAtee was killed by a single shot to the chest. Two police officers and two Guard members had discharged their weapons, firing about 18 rounds.
How has social media reacted?
On Friday, what would have been Ms. Taylor’s 27th birthday, people on Twitter used the hashtag #SayHerName to remember her and raise awareness about her case.
“Her life was tragically taken by police and we will not stop marching for justice until it’s served for her and her family. #SayHerName,” Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said on Friday.
Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, said on Twitter that Ms. Taylor’s life was “horrifically” taken by officers who had not been charged 84 days after her killing. “Keep up the calls for justice. #SayHerName,” Ms. Harris said.
The “Say Her Name” movement also brings awareness to other black women, whose similar stories may not have garnered as much national attention, including Tanisha Anderson and Atatiana Jefferson.
“Say Her Name attempts to make the death of black women an active part of this conversation, by saying their names,” Kimberlé Crenshaw, an activist, and creator of the hashtag, told ABC on Friday. “If black lives really do matter, all black lives have to matter. That means black lives across gender have to be lifted up.”
After Breonna Taylor’s death, a look at other black women killed during police encounters
As George Floyd’s death focuses renewed attention on the African American men who have been killed by police officers across the country and the deep-seated issue of bias in policing, advocates are also saying that dozens of African American women over the last few decades who have been killed by police or died in their custody are a part of the conversation that is missing.
From Eleanor Bumpers to Alberta Spruill to Breonna Taylor, many African American women were either killed by police or died in police custody. The vast majority were shot and a number of cases involved mental illness and controversial “no-knock” warrants.
While the rate of death for black women is much lower than black men who die by police brutality, it has been amplified recently by the case of Taylor, whose case is now under investigation by the FBI.
Taylor, born in Grand Rapids on June 5, 1993, was, her family says, an accomplished front-line healthcare worker in Louisville, Kentucky, where she went to the state’s university and lived with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker.
Taylor and Walker were asleep when their apartment on March 13 when it was raided by three plainclothes Louisville police officers who were executing a “no-knock” warrant related to drugs, police said. Walker called 911 to report a break-in as shots rang out and bullets were exchanged between the officers and Walker, a licensed gun owner, according to Sam Aguiar, an attorney for the Taylor family.
Taylor was shot at least eight times during the fusillade, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the shooters.
While Taylor was suspected by the police of participating in drug trafficking, no drugs were found in the apartment, police said. The officers — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — were placed on administrative reassignment pending investigations by the FBI and local police officials.MORE: Breonna Taylor, Kentucky EMT, allegedly killed by police executing a search warrant
A way to honor Taylor
This week, in memory of what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday, writer Cate Young started a campaign to allow the community to take action in her honor.
Young told ABC News on Thursday that she got frustrated when Taylor’s name “quickly” dropped out of headlines.
“When I realized she had a birthday coming up, I wanted to do something, strike while the iron is hot, while everyone is still paying attention and bring her name back into the news,” Young said.
Young created a website with a nine-part action plan that includes encouraging the use of the hashtags “#SayHerName” and “#BirthdayforBreonna” on social media as well as to send a birthday card to Kentucky’s Governor Daniel Cameron demanding charges get filed against the officers. Calls to the governor’s officer were not returned.
The “Say Her Name” campaign was started in December 2014 by the African American Police Reform.
Kimberle Crenshaw, executive director of African American Policy Forum and creator of #SayHerName, told GMA on Friday that black women killed by police violence cannot be an afterthought.
“This hashtag ‘Say Her Name’ was created for this purpose,” said Young. “Black women deserve the same energy as black men when they are killed by the police.”
Young also mentioned that “even less coverage” is given to transgender men and women who are killed by the police.
“‘Say Her Name’ attempts to make the deaths of black women an active part of this conversation by saying her names. If black lives really do matter, all black lives have to matter. That means black lives across gender have to be lifted up,” said Crenshaw.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a report in August 2019 that shows people of color — African Americans, Latino men, American Indians, and Alaska Natives — are more likely than whites to be killed by the police.
“Over the life course, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police. Women’s lifetime risk of being killed by police is about 20 times lower than men’s risk,” according to the report.
The researchers “expect” between 2.4 and 5.4 African American women and girls to be killed by police over the life course per 100,000 at current rates, according to the report.
“No-knock warrants come into focus
During the last 10 days, massive protests have erupted around the country after Floyd’s death was captured in excruciating detail on a cellphone video. Four now-former Minneapolis police officers were charged in connection to Floyd’s killing. One, Derek Chauvin, was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly causing Floyd’s death by pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The others were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
No pleas were issued at their initial court appearance. But, two of the charged officers, Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng — both rookies — said through their attorneys that they tried to stop Chauvin.
Earlier this week, Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker joined National Urban League leaders and Rev. Al Sharpton to propose legislative solutions to the situation that led to Floyd’s death. The three-pronged proposal included banning the use of “no-knock” warrants.
No-knock warrants — issued by a judge that gives law enforcement the authority to enter someone’s property without notification — have led to the death of at least three African American women and one girl, aged 7 to 92 since 2003.
In one case, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was asleep on the couch in her grandmother’s living room in Detroit on May 16, 2010 when police entered, authorities said at the time. The officers were executing a “no-knock” warrant for a murder suspect while a reality television crew was filming, police said.
One of the officers, Joseph Weekley, collided with the 7-year-old girl’s grandmother causing him to accidentally fire. Aiyana was shot in the head.MORE: Detroit Police Officer Faces New Trial in Girl’s 2010 Shooting Death
Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but after the jury deadlocked, a judge dismissed the charges in 2015. The girl’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and in 2019, they reached an $8.25 million settlement before the civil trial started. There were no admissions of wrongdoing.
Four years before Aiyana was killed, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot and killed inside her Atlanta, Georgia, home during a botched drug raid.
Officers with the Atlanta Police Department executed a “no-knock” warrant on Johnston’s home, using false information from an informant who claimed he had purchased drugs from the home, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After they broke down her front door, Johnston reached for a gun and fired one shot, police said at the time. Officers returned fire, killing her.
No drugs were found, and officers planted drugs in the home that had been recovered from a different raid, according to the AJC.
A total of nine officers were either criminally charged, sentenced to federal prison or disciplined for their role in the incident.
Johnston’s family reached a $4.9 million settlement with the city in 2010.
And three years before Johnston’s death, Alberta Spruill suffered a heart attack when NYPD officers mistakenly executed a “no-knock” warrant on her Harlem apartment.
The officers broke through her front door while she was getting dressed for work, tossed a flash grenade and entered with their guns drawn before handcuffing Spruill, police said. Police received bad information from a confidential informant that they were entering an apartment that a drug dealer used to stash drugs, guns and a pit bull. After the officers rammed into Spruill’s apartment, they realized they had the wrong apartment as she began to have trouble breathing and died an hour later, the New York Post reported.
Former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly placed the unidentified lieutenant who decided to use the flash grenade on desk duty and banned use of flash grenades department-wide. The Manhattan District Attorney at the time investigated Spruill’s death, which was ruled a homicide, but no criminal charges were filed.
Spruill’s family settled a wrongful death notice of claim against the city for $1.6 million in October 2003.
High-profile cases of deadly encounters between police and African American women with mental illness police include an incident in October 1984 in the Bronx, New York. Eleanor Bumpers, 66, was shot and killed by NYPD Officer Stephen Sullivan while attempting to assist marshals to evict her because she was behind in her rent. Bumpers had a history of mental illness and was brandishing a knife before Sullivan fired two shots.
Thirty-two years later, Deborah Danner, 66-year-old mentally ill woman, was shot and killed in the Bronx by NYPD Officer Hugh Barry while wielding a baseball bat.MORE: Woman Killed by NYPD Had Written About ‘Problems’ on How Police Deal With the Mentally Ill
Sullivan was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges after a 1987 trial. Barry claimed self-defense and was also acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after trial.
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