John Legend Demands Accountability In Breonna Taylor's Killing: 'There Has Been A War On Black Communities For A Long Time'
The artist used his essay to raise awareness for Color Of Change, an organization focused on holding prosecutors accountable.
June 07, 2020 at 3:58 pm
"Breonna should be celebrating her 27th birthday today. Like so many Black women, she was an essential worker, an emergency medical technician, the kind of first responder we depend on to save lives during this ongoing pandemic," Legend wrote in an op-ed for Entertainment Weekly. "She had planned on becoming a nurse and dreamed of being a wife and mother. She was on her path."
Her dream ended on March 13 when Louisville Metro Police officers barged into Taylor's apartment and fired 20 shots, killing the Black EMT. As Legend described in his essay, Taylor's boyfriend fired his gun when he first thought somebody broke into the home.
Kenneth Walker watched in agony as he was unable to save his girlfriend. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder for shooting one of the officers in the leg, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Charges against the heartbroken Walker were dropped after weeks of public outcry.
Still, the fight for Taylor continues.
"Although District Attorney Thomas B. Wine ultimately dropped charges against Walker, he has not brought charges against the LMPD officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, who took Breonna's life," Legend wrote.
The artist used his essay to raise awareness for Winning Justice, a program by Color of Change that is focused on holding prosecutors accountable.
"Transformation is impossible without focusing on district attorneys who hold too much power to deny Black people justice again and again," Legend stated. "Now for the first time, Color of Change has created a directory to help us start this work. I hope you will join our movement to take up this fight locally and elect prosecutors who will hold the murderers of Black people accountable."
Color Of Change lists five uses for its directory. The organization urges residents to familiarize themselves with their local prosecutors and their stance on reducing mass incarceration and transforming the criminal justice system, learn about prosecutor elections and demographic breakdowns in their district and share relevant information with their communities as they organize and move forward.
Legend said he is also asking local governments to "redirect significant portions from police budgets to other services that will make communities healthier and safer."
"As we continue to work towards systemic change, I join Breonna's community in the immediate demand for justice: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer should finally arrest the three officers who killed Breonna and charge them with second-degree murder," the singer wrote. "Until elected officials create consequences for egregious and fatal police misconduct, they will continue to kill us with impunity."
The 41-year-old added that "there has been a war on Black communities for a long time."
"This 'war' turns police departments into small armies who patrol what they believe to be 'battlegrounds' rather than neighborhoods, populated by 'combatants' rather than hard-working people with families and dreams, like Kenneth and Breonna," Legend wrote.