The Black Lives Matter event in Orkney on Wednesday 24th of June at 6pm was the most successful yet with many more people in the islands participating.
Sheku was a well-liked, hard-working young man, with no previous history of violence, when he died in police custody at the age of 31 on the 3rd May 2015.
The campaigning will continue in Orkney and at 6pm on Wednesday 1st of July Orcadians will again be taking part in a door step protest. The focus for this event will be Breonna Taylor.
Who was Breonna Taylor ?
Breonna Taylor was only 26 years old. She was an emergency room technician, a godmother, a daughter and a sister, whose dream was to care for people.
Breonna was murdered in her own home by the police on the 13th March 2020. Police in this instance were utilising a ‘no knock warrant’ which allowed their forced entry into Breonna’s home whilst in plain clothes, with no attempt made to identify themselves. The warrant had been granted as it was believed that packages containing drugs were being delivered to her address.
Following the raid, no evidence of any criminal activity could be found.
Due to the manner by which the warrant was exercised, Breonna and her boyfriend feared for their lives, believing a home invasion to be taking place. This caused her boyfriend to fire a single shot in self-defence at the door, from a fully licensed gun. The officers returned fire, firing a total of 20 shots into the apartment.
Breonna was shot at least 8 times by police.
The incident report that was filed following Breonna’s death has led to yet more controversy. Despite there being physical evidence and multiple witness testimonies that a battering ram was used to break down the door, under the ‘forced entry’ section of the report, the ‘no’ box was checked.
Even though Breonna was shot at least 8 times by police and died of the injuries inflicted upon her, the report listed her injuries as ‘none’.
Since her death, ‘Breonna’s Law’ has been introduced, meaning the use of ‘no knock warrants’ will be severely limited and officers will now be required to wear body cams during their execution.
Despite this, the officers responsible for her death have faced no criminal charges and merely remain on administrative leave.
In an interview, Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, understandably expressed her frustration that justice had not yet been pursued, she said:
“It’s a smack in the face, actually, to know that these officers are still being paid to do a job that they failed at.”
Although the new legislation is welcomed, these changes should not have required the needless death of an innocent human being for them to be finally implemented.
Breonna Taylor was tragically murdered by police whilst she was in bed. Those responsible for her murder are yet to be brought to justice. She did not deserve this, but she does deserve justice. The least we can do is know her name, know her story and do everything we can to ensure her killers are held accountable.
Commenting about Breonna’s case, local OotWae Racism member Isla Leslie said:
“Breonna’s case, like every other, is so important to remember.
“Over the past few weeks, we have seen attempts to justify police brutality as a retaliation to criminal behaviour. No police officer ever has the right or reason to take away another’s life regardless of what that person is accused of.
“Breonna’s case highlights that despite her innocence, black lives are never entirely safe.
“Police officers killed Breonna in her own home and in doing so, took away an entirely innocent life. We must remember Breonna, and stand alongside those fighting for her justice.”
Member of Orkney Oot Wae Racism, Sorcha Kirker commented:
“It’s wonderful to see how passionate our community is about opposing racial violence. Orkney OotWae Racism, and the doorstep protests that they organise, are crucial to ensuring that we stand together against this issue, and fight for change.”
Download a poster: Orkney Stands Wae Black Lives Matter Poster
Say their names: Sheku Bayoh Breonna Taylor
“The dead cannot cry out for justice, but it is the duty of the living to do so for them. ” Crowdfund Justice for Sheku Bayoh