As the FBI moves forward with its investigation into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Kentucky police, two Democratic members of congress are calling on the Department of Justice to open a separate civil rights investigation into the matter.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia sent a letter to Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division on Friday (May 22) demanding the independent investigation.
“Breonna Taylor was a young woman who was serving her community as an EMT because she believed that experience would give her the foundation to heal people, said Harris in a statement. “She was senselessly shot down while she was in her apartment. There should be an independent investigation and serious consequences and accountability for the loss of this young woman’s life.”
McBath, who was elected to Congress in 2018, six years after her unarmed son, Jordan Davis, was killed in a Florida gas station during an argument, echoed her congressional colleague.
“My heart hurts for Breonna and I am praying for her family,” she said. “No parent should ever know the pain of burying a child. I hope the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an independent investigation to ensure Breonna’s family, and the American public, receive the answers they deserve.”
Taylor was killed March 13 in a police drug raid when officers, executing a “no-knock” search warrant, came into the apartment she shared with boyfriend Kenneth Walker. The police were looking for a narcotics suspect that was actually already in custody. Gunfire was exchanged between Walker and the police, with one being wounded. A lawsuit from Taylor’s family says Walker only fired because he believed intruders were breaking in the apartment in the middle of the night.
Walker was charged with attempted murder and remains in police custody.
Taylor, 26, was not a suspect in any crime and no drugs were found in the apartment, according to reports. A day after the shooting, the Louisville Metro Police Department opened an internal investigation and the officers involved were placed on administrative leave. Neither of them have been charged.
The FBI announced on Thursday (May 21) that it was launching its own investigation of the case, independent of Louisville police officials.
The letter Harris and McBath wrote to the DOJ was also signed on by several members of the House and Senate including Senators Corey Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont along with House members Yvette Clarke of New York, Alcee Hastings of Florida, and Barbara Lee of California.
Harris Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for BET and McBath Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for VH1.