WASHINGTON: The police killing of a 26-year-old emergency health worker in her apartment in Kentucky has triggered a fresh wave of anger in the US over officers shooting black civilians.
Protests under the slogan “Black Lives Matter” have erupted regularly since 2012 over the shootings of unarmed African-Americans, with many accusing police of racially-biased brutality.
Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician (EMT) worker, and her boyfriend were asleep when police burst in and shot her eight times on March 13, her lawyer Ben Crump said.
Officers had the wrong address and used a battering ram to enter the Louisville apartment without warning and were searching for a suspect who was already in custody, Crump said.
Taylor’s boyfriend is still being held after the raid, while no police officer has been charged over her death.
The police department “has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing”, Crump said in a statement.
A lawsuit was filed last month accusing officers of wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence, according to The Washington Post.
“My priority is that the truth comes out, and for justice to follow,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Tuesday.
“The Breonna Taylor case is currently under investigation … police work can involve incredibly difficult situations. Additionally, residents have rights.”
Cases of US police brutality against people of colour, and particularly black people, have become increasingly high-profile in recent years, sparking national protests.
In one of the most well-known cases, a white police officer killed Michael Brown – an 18-year-old black man – in Missouri in 2014.
Along with the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a neighbourhood watchman, the case inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.
And in recent days, although it was not a police killing, Americans have been outraged by the shooting death of a young black jogger named Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia.
Taylor “was one of the healthcare professionals helping us through this pandemic. But even as she helped to save lives, police violence took hers”, said the verified Black Lives Matter twitter account.
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for action, saying that Taylor “was killed two months ago, and nothing has happened since”.