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Breonna Taylor had big plans before police broke down her door in a fatal robbery

She had worked at a steak and shake. She had a job driving seniors to their appointments. Now she lived her passion as a paramedic.

Her next goal was to become a nurse – and her family believed she could. They had affectionately called her “Breewayy” – because whatever she wanted, she found a way to make it happen.

Her personal life also flourished. Her boyfriend had an engagement ring ready to propose and raise a family. Taylor wanted a little girl and had already chosen a name, said her sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer.
But those plans died with her on March 13th. When three Louisville officers stormed into her home after midnight with an arrest warrant. Taylor fell asleep after watching a movie in bed with boyfriend Kenneth Walker. The officers broke the green door with the gold number 4 with a battering ram.
Walker feared an intruder and opened fire. The officers unleashed a barrage of bullets and fatally shot Taylor.
Protesters march for Breonna Taylor on August 25th in Louisville, Ky.

The family struggles with her death months later

Months later, her family says her death still feels surreal. You described them as the glue that holds them together.

Her mother, Tamika Palmer, was so devastated by the loss of her firstborn that she spent Mother’s Day in bed. Taylor celebrated her 27th birthday with dinner in a fancy restaurant on June 5th, says her mother. She loved family gatherings and would have insisted that everyone get dressed that day.
On a feature for Vanity Fair, Palmer shared how she got pregnant with Taylor as a teenager and was afraid her daughter would make the same mistakes.
But Taylor was a achiever and goal-oriented. She started running at 9 months, got her first computer at 7, and loved listening to Johnnie Taylor’s blues as a little girl.

Mom and daughter grew up together and have built a close relationship that is full of funny anecdotes. She remembered her daughter’s numerous morning calls asking for her chilli recipe after her night shift at the hospital.

“Breonna would be at the grocery store at 7am … calling me like, ‘Mom, what kind of chili do I need to buy?'” She wrote. “And I would say, ‘Breonna, can you write this down because I don’t see why I have to tell you this all the time.'”

Mother and daughter also shared a passion for muscle cars and motorcycles. Taylor had just bought her dream car right before she died.

“Breonna’s all-time favorite was the Dodge Charger. She was on her second – a 2019 Dodge Charger R / T,” her mother wrote. “She was so proud of this car, it was her baby. And she has those pipes on it. It has two exhausts so you get the space!”

Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, speaks at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC last month.

Claims for justice go beyond Louisville

Taylor’s death has resonated beyond Louisville.

For weeks, demonstrators have been taking to the streets across the country and demanding justice. None of the officers have been charged with a crime – two remain on duty and a third has been fired.

Unlike the case of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis officer shoved him under his knee when he asked that he could not breathe, there was no video with a police camera.

Louisville has passed the “Breonna Act” which bans arrest warrants and requires officers who issue search warrants to wear body cameras.

Celebrities like Beyonce and NBA player LeBron James have joined the call for justice in their case. Oprah Winfrey put her on the cover of her magazine and posted billboards with her picture all over Louisville.

Her death is a reminder that black women suffer from law enforcement and the intersection of race and gender must be recognized, says David Stamps, assistant professor at Louisiana State University.

“Breonna Taylor, like Sandra Bland and other black women, is often relegated to the back row because the focus is typically on the systemic racism and brutality that black men face,” Stamps said. “That’s why Breonna Taylor is an icon, she reminds us that we have to #SayHerName and that all black life matters.”

An aerial view of a large format mural depicting Breonna Taylor in Annapolis, Maryland.

Past relationships led the police to her door

Taylor’s path to happiness has not always been smooth. It contains a previous relationship with Jamarcus Glover, a suspected crack cocaine dealer. He was the reason the police went to her door that night.

A judge had approved five search warrants without knocking the day before Taylor died, court records show. They were intended for locations associated with Glover, a convicted criminal suspected of supplying a local drug house. One of the places was Taylor’s apartment.

Glover used Taylor’s place of residence as his “current home address” following an online database review on February 20. He had received mail there, an affidavit for a search warrant. It was said that a detective saw Glover arrive at Taylor’s apartment in January and leave with a package a short time later. Then he drove straight to a “well-known drug house”.

The affidavit did not document any activity related to Taylor or her March residence.

Taylor’s family lawyers said the police information was incorrect and out of date. Any mail Glover received in her apartment would have been harmless, like clothes or shoes, they said.

Her family has said that she dated Glover once but was not involved in the alleged drug operation. She had forbidden him to bring this aspect of his life into her personal life.

When police knocked on the door that night, Walker told investigators his first thought was that it was Glover. Taylor had dated him during their seven-year relationship, and he feared there might be problems.

So he grabbed a gun that he legally owns, his attorney said. When the police shots subsided, Taylor lay bleeding beside him. There were bullet holes everywhere.

A major point of contention in this case is whether the police announced their presence before breaking the door open. They found no drugs or money in Taylor’s apartment.

The road to justice may be long and complicated, says her family, but they don’t give up.

CNN’s Scott Glover, Collette Richards, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin contributed to this report

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