Updated Jul 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Breonna Taylor was alive after police shooting, did not receive treatment

A demonstrator holds a painting of Breonna Taylor during a protest near the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct on June 7
A demonstrator holds a painting of Breonna Taylor during a protest near the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct on June 7. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Breonna Taylor was alive for at least 20 minutes after police officers entered her home as part of a drug investigation and shot her on March 13, the Louisville Courier Journal reported Friday.

Why it matters: Taylor did not receive medical attention after the shooting even though she showed signs of life, including coughing and labored breathing, according to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and police dispatch logs.

  • The Jefferson County coroner disputed that account in a comment to the New York Times, saying Taylor "had little to no chance of survival, and was likely to have died in 'less than a minute.'"

Details: Taylor's family accused the Louisville Metro Police Department and city mayor in an open letter of "unlawfully" denying their open records requests for information on her case.

  • Attorneys for Taylor's family issued a letter saying they're seeking the "truth" in mid-June, one day after filing motions in Jefferson Circuit Court to hold the custodians of the records in the coroner's office and Police Merit Board "in contempt of court for failure to produce records" in her case, per the Courier Journal.
"Your silence is complicity. Your honesty and decision to speak out against these actions and against racism will help rebuild this city and unite us all. Please take these critical first steps and trust our community to respond favorably."
ā€” excerpt from Taylor family letter directed at Louisville Metro Police Department

What they're saying... The Louisville Metro Coroner's Office told CNN: "We had an open records request for the autopsy of Breonna Taylor. This was not going to be released until all the investigations had been complete. All the requests have gone to state attorney general's office. Due to the COVID 19 most lawyers have been working from home until recently and an extension was requested. There is a 10 day allowance for open records requests."

  • When asked about the family's letter, Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher said, "Within 24 hours of an officer-involved shooting, we release video. Not many cities do that. So we're already leading in this area," per the Courier Journal.

The big picture: The death of Taylor prompted protests across Louisville. Her killing was a focal point of the Black Lives Matter protests, which began after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Justice Department is investigating her shooting.

Background: Police who entered Taylor's home were investigating two men they believed to be selling drugs out of a house 10 miles from her home, per the Courier Journal.

  • Officers used a battering ram to break down her door despite her not being a main suspect and shot Taylor at least eight times after her boyfriend fired his gun at an officer in self-defense, the news outlet notes.
  • Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, has filed a civil lawsuit against the three police officers who fired their weapons into Taylor's apartment, according to the Courier Journal.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a bill on June 11 after speaking with Taylor's family that would prohibit federal law enforcement and local police that receive federal funding from entering homes without warning through a "no-knock" warrant.
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