Beyoncé is calling on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to criminally charge the three police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor in a powerful open letter.
The Grammy-winning singer demanded “swift and decisive action” for Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot in March after three plainclothes officers executed a no-knock warrant and raided her Louisville, Kentucky, home in the middle of the night.
In the letter posted to her website on Sunday, Beyoncé plainly stated three calls to action. In addition to bringing charges against the officers, the department must commit to transparency throughout the process and investigate the response to her killing, as well as “pervasive practices that result in the repeated deaths of unarmed Black citizens,” she wrote.
“Three months have passed — and the LMPD’s investigations have created more questions than answers. Their incident report states that Ms. Taylor suffered no injuries — yet we know she was shot at least eight times,” she wrote, referencing the virtually blank incident report on Taylor’s death released earlier this week. “The LMPD officers claim they announced themselves before forcing their way into Ms. Taylor’s apartment — but her boyfriend who was with her, as well as several neighbors, all say that this is untrue.”
“While ‘Breonna’s Law’ passed in Louisville and the federal legislation has been introduced that will also ban no-knock warrants, these small steps in the right direction are painful reminders that there has still been no justice for Breonna Taylor or her family,” the singer continued.
In response to Taylor’s killing, city lawmakers voted unanimously on Thursday to ban the Louisville Metro Police Department from using no-knock warrants. The legislation, which was titled Breonna’s Law, also mandates that officers wear body cameras when executing any warrant and that all recorded data be retained for at least five years.
But, as Beyoncé notes, none of the officers involved have been arrested or charged. Instead, they’ve been placed on administrative leave while remaining employed by the force, as the case is still under investigation.
“Three months have passed — and zero arrests have been made, and no officers have been fired. The LMPD’s investigation was turned over to your office, and yet all of the officers involved in the shooting remain employed by the LMPD. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison must be held accountable for their actions.”
Beyoncé continued, “Ms. Taylor’s family has not been able to take time to process and grieve. Instead, they have been working tirelessly to rally the support of friends, their community, and the country to obtain justice for Breonna.”
The “Lion King” star concluded the letter by imploring the attorney general not to let Taylor’s killing “fall into the pattern of no action after a terrible tragedy.”
“With every death of a Black person at the hands of the police, there are two real tragedies: the death itself, and the inaction and delays that follow it,” she wrote. “This is your chance to end that pattern. Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers. The next months cannot look like the last three.”
The letter arrives days after Beyoncé made an impassioned commencement speech to the graduating class of 2020, in which she highlighted the power of community action in response to police brutality and racial injustice.
“The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others have left us all broken,” she said in a video message. “It has left the entire country searching for answers. We’ve seen that our collective hearts, when put to positive action, could start the wheels of change.”