The women formed lined up arm-in-arm to form a barrier between the Louisville Metro Police and the black protestors.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
Even before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis unleashed a wave of protests across the country, over in Louisville, Kentucky, citizens have been raging against the killing of an African-American medical worker. 26-year-old Breonna Taylor became the victim of yet another senseless shooting on March 13 when police officials from the Louisville Metro Police Department raided her home and shot at her eight times. Coming on the heels of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna's death sparked immense fury in the community, prompting tense demonstrations calling for police accountability.
This is Breonna Taylor.— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) May 12, 2020
She was a beloved Louisville EMT and a nurse who was fatally shot by police in her own home. She was hit 8X after cops entered w/o announcing themselves. A frontline worker, she was just 26 yrs old. Her family deserves justice.#SayHerName #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/oMrYUDQfR9
During one such anti-police violence demonstration on Thursday, protestors witnessed a heartwarming act of alliance when a number of white women formed a human shield to protect black demonstrators. Images of the incident captured by photographer Tim Druck shows the women lined up arm-in-arm to form a barrier between the Louisville Metro Police and the protestors. Speaking to the Courier Journal, Druck revealed that the women came into formation after Chanelle Helm—a lead organizer for Black Lives Matter Louisville—urged white protesters to use of their privilege to protect those who are often victims of systemic racism.
"If you are going to be here, you should defend this space," she said, according to Druck."She was asking for white folks to use their privilege, and put their bodies between police and the other demonstrators," he revealed. "And people responded. They didn’t, they didn't need to be convinced. Everybody willingly and enthusiastically did it." The photographer captured one quick photo of the human shield with his iPhone which went viral on social media when shared on Facebook by the Kentucky National Organization for Women with the caption: This is a line of white people forming a barrier between Black protestors and the police. This is love. This is what you do with your privilege.
According to ABC News, Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping inside their Springfield Drive apartment on March 13 when officials from the Louisville Metro Police Department criminal interdiction unit attempted to execute a "no-knock" search warrant. As per a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April by Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, three plainclothes officers opened the front door and "blindly" opened fire into their apartment. Afraid that they were being invaded, Walker had fired shots at the time, injuring LMPD Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, who was promptly treated and released from a hospital. Walker was initially charged with the attempted murder of a police officer, but the charge has since been dropped.
"Do African-Americans have a right to the Second Amendment?" asked attorney Ben Crump who is a part of the legal team representing Taylor's family. "Doesn't he have the right to stand his ground against people who he believes are burglarizing his home?" The FBI has now opened an investigation into the incident. "The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time," said Special Agent in Charge Robert Brown in a statement last month.
#BreonnaTaylor was killed by police March of 2020 in Louisville, KY after they came into her house, looking for someone who did not live there, and shot her 8 times. Breonna was unarmed and innocent. A video of her massacre should not be the only way her family gets justice. pic.twitter.com/9tP6jmt0Hs— bayou baby (@imyagirleva) May 12, 2020
"I believe additional investigation is necessary," said Jefferson County Attorney Tom Wine in a press conference on dismissing the charges against Walker. "I believe the independent investigation by the attorney general's office of Kentucky, FBI and U.S. attorneys office must be completed before we go forward with any prosecution of Kenneth Walker and if after those reviews we believe there is sufficient evidence to present to the grand jury we will do so." Crump, who also represented Arbery's family, said that "while dismissing the charges is the right thing to do, it comes more than two months after Breonna was killed and Kenneth was arrested... Until everyone involved is held accountable and the full truth of what happened that night is revealed, justice for Kenneth and Breonna is incomplete."