Breonna Taylor shooting: An 11-month timeline shows how her death changed Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Her story continues.
It has been almost a year since Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police officers in her apartment March 13, 2020, during an attempt to search for drugs and cash that went horribly wrong.
Since then, more than 180 days of protests have filled the streets of Louisville — demanding racial justice and that the officers responsible for her death be charged and arrested.
Their demands were rebuffed.
A grand jury indicted a detective for firing wantonly into an occupied apartment next to Taylor's. But no officer was charged with killing the 26-year-old unarmed Black woman.
But the calls for justice still ring out, and no one knows how, or when, it will end.
But here's how it began:
March 12, 2020: Detective Joshua Jaynes, an officer in the Place-Based Investigations unit of the Criminal Interdiction Division, receives authorization for five no-knock search warrants from Circuit Judge Mary Shaw for the unit's narcotics investigation, including Breonna Taylor's apartment on Springfield Drive.
March 13: At 12:40 a.m., officers execute the warrant at Taylor's apartment, knocking on the door. Police say they identified themselves, but Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who is inside, says he didn't hear them. When officers knock in the door, Walker fires a shot, which police say hit Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. He and two other officers return fire, hitting Taylor five times and killing her in her hallway.
Walker is arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and assault.
Police later identify Mattingly and detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison as the officers who fired their weapons, placing them on administrative reassignment.
Minute by minute:What happened the night police fatally shot Breonna Taylor
March 19: Taylor's family holds a vigil for her in downtown Louisville. Dozens of her friends and family attend.
"Never in a million years, would I imagine us, just sitting here, having a memorial for our baby," Bianca Austin, Taylor's aunt, says. "They took a big part of our life away from us. She was a good girl. She did not deserve what she went through. ... Because of incompetent police work, they went in her house, in the comfort of her own home, and just took her from us. She's gone. She's never coming back."
Austin says the loss of her niece is a nightmare.
"The pressure has already been applied," Austin says. "And we not letting up ... and we gon' get justice for our baby."
March 25: Twelve days after Taylor died, Mattingly is interviewed for 40 minutes by the LMPD's Public Integrity Unit about the events of that night.
March 27: Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens releases Walker on home incarceration, invoking the ire of the local Fraternal Order of Police, with Lodge 614 President Ryan Nichols calling the move "a slap in the face to everyone wearing a badge." Rob Eggert, Walker's defense attorney, says it is the police who killed Taylor who are "the threat to the community."
April 22: The Place-Based Investigations unit executes another no-knock search warrant at 2424 Elliott Ave., one of the homes police searched the night Taylor died, again recovering drugs and cash. The home is frequented by Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who was arrested March 13.
April 27: Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, sues Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly, the three officers who fired shots in Taylor's apartment. Local attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, who represent the family, say police used excessive force and were grossly negligent.
The lawsuit alleges that police fired more than 20 rounds into Taylor's home, striking objects in the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, both bedrooms and into an adjacent residence where a 5-year-old child and pregnant mother were present.
"Breonna had committed no crime, posed no immediate threat to the safety of the defendants and did not actively resist or attempt to evade arrest prior to being repeatedly shot and killed by the defendants," the suit says.
May 11: Benjamin Crump, a Florida-based attorney with a track record of working with families of high-profile slain Black Americans, announces he's joining Taylor's family's legal team on the heels of representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger who was killed by white men in Georgia.
“We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department," Crump says. "Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the 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."
May 13: Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine announces he is recusing himself from reviewing Louisville police officers' conduct in Taylor's death, saying it is a conflict of interest because he is pursuing a case against Walker for allegedly shooting Mattingly. Instead, Cameron's office will act as the special prosecutor in the case.
May 18: Mayor Greg Fischer announces that the police chief or his designee must sign off on all no-knock search warrant requests before asking a judge for approval. Fischer also says all sworn officers must wear and use body cameras when serving warrants or in any situation in which they will identify themselves as police officers.
May 20: Fischer announces LMPD has turned over the findings of an internal investigation into Taylor's death to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.
May 21: The FBI announces it is launching an investigation into Taylor's death.
"The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner," the FBI Louisville Field Office says in a statement.
May 21: In a motion to dismiss Walker's criminal charges, Eggert, his defense attorney, provides a recording showing that LMPD Sgt. Amanda Seelye never told a grand jury that Walker said he didn't know he was shooting at police March 13, nor that Taylor was killed when police returned fire.
Police Chief Steve Conrad announces that he will retire at the end of June and Deputy Chief Robert Schroeder will step in in the interim.
May 22: Wine announces that he will dismiss all charges against Walker, saying "additional investigation is necessary." Wine said Walker's case could be taken back to a grand jury, pending the findings of the investigations by the Kentucky attorney general and the FBI.
May 25: More than 700 miles away, in Minneapolis, George Floyd is killed by police Officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck as Floyd gasped that he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death would ignite racial justice protests across the country.
Taylor's family and friends gather outside of her apartment in South Louisville for a Memorial Day wreath-laying. Palmer says that until recently, she felt like "no one cared" what had happened to her daughter inside those walls.
May 26: The Courier Journal sues LMPD, seeking the immediate release of the department's investigative file into Taylor's death.
May 28: The Courier Journal publishes Walker’s frantic call to 911 minutes after police fatally shot Taylor in her apartment. It received the recording from Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor's family. More than an hour later, the city releases Walker's call, as well as more than a dozen more calls from neighbors and police the night of the shooting. Protests begin in Louisville, with calls for the officers in Taylor's shooting to be fired and criminally charged. They erupt into clashes between protesters and police, who use tear gas and pepper balls. An unknown assailant shoots at least seven people during the protests.
May 29: Fischer announces he is suspending no-knock search warrants like the one issued to enter Taylor's apartment, telling protesters, "I hear you." Fischer also says a civilian review board to examine police shootings should have subpoena powers.
A second night of protests ensues, with some looting.
May 30: Taylor's younger sister, Juniyah Palmer, takes to social media to plead for peace: "Once y'all started vandalism, you took my sister's name out of place!" she writes. "I honestly feel like you guys are disrespecting my family wishes for a safe and NON-VIOLENT protest!" Later that morning, Fischer announces he is implementing a dusk-til-dawn curfew, and Gov. Andy Beshear sends in the National Guard.
June 1: On the city's fourth night of protests, LMPD and National Guard members go to 26th and Broadway to break up a crowd after curfew. David McAtee, 53, the owner of a popular barbecue stand, dies in the ensuing encounter, fatally shot by the National Guard. Before the day's end, Fischer fires Conrad after learning the police officers at McAtee's fatal shooting did not have their body cameras turned on.
June 2: Fischer addresses protesters in person, trying to explain to the crowd why he can't immediately fire the officers in Taylor's death. He is met with chants of "No justice, no peace."
June 3: Fischer orders a "top-to-bottom" review of Louisville Metro Police and announces that a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit will help in the national search for a new police chief. Dozens of LMPD officers walk out on Fischer in protest during a roll call.
June 5: A crowd of at least 1,000 gather on what would have been Taylor's 27th birthday. The massive demonstrations envelop Metro Hall downtown and culminate with protest marches around the city.
June 8: The statue of John B. Castleman, a Confederate major turned Abraham Lincoln supporter, is removed from Louisville's Cherokee Triangle after 107 years.
June 9: Hankison, one of the officers who fired weapons in Taylor's apartment, is accused of sexual assault by multiple women, The Courier Journal reports. The police department confirms it is looking into the allegations.
June 10: Interim Chief Schroeder announces that police officers won't be allowed to use tear gas without his or his designee's approval. The city also launches a community survey for what residents want in a new police chief. Jaynes, the detective who sought the no-knock search warrant for Taylor's home, is placed on administrative reassignment to investigate the warrant he obtained.
June 11: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, puts forth proposal to ban no-knock search warrants nationwide, naming it in honor of Taylor.
June 12: Fischer signs "Breonna's Law," banning no-knock search warrants in Louisville. The Metro Council unanimously passed the ordinance the night before.
June 13: Workers remove the marble statue of Confederate president and Kentucky native Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol, where it had stood for 84 years.
On that same day, McAtee is buried, but people at his funeral vow to "make sure that his death was not in vain."
June 17: A protester is hit by a car in downtown Louisville, and two other protesters are charged with first-degree rioting and obstructing a highway.
June 18: Cameron declines to tell news media when he will conclude his investigation into Taylor's death and instead asks the public for patience.
June 23: Hankison is officially fired as an LMPD officer after he is accused of "blindly" firing 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment and the unit next door. Schroeder adds in a termination letter that Hankison showed "extreme indifference to the value of human life."
June 24: Hankison appeals his firing, with his attorney, David Leightty, calling the dismissal a "cowardly political act." Hankison's appeal remains open, pending the resolution of any criminal proceedings.
June 25: Hundreds of people rally on the steps of the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, demanding justice for Taylor and other Black women. Celebrities, including Jada Pinkett Smith and the hip-hop artist Common, show their support.
June 27: Tyler Gerth, a 27-year-old photographer and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, is shot and killed in Jefferson Square Park. His godfather is Joe Gerth, a Courier Journal columnist. Steven Lopez, 23, is arrested and charged with murder and first-degree wanton endangerment.
June 29: Metro Council officials announce their intent to launch an investigation into how Fischer's administration handled the Taylor and McAtee shooting deaths.
Protesters block all three lanes of the Clark Memorial Bridge, which connects Louisville and Southern Indiana, for several hours, leading to 43 arrests and 20 cars towed.
July 5: In a revised lawsuit, attorneys for Taylor's family allege that LMPD was targeting a suspected drug house on Elliott Avenue and Taylor's ex-boyfriend as a part of a larger effort to clear out the Russell neighborhood for gentrification. The mayor's office called the allegations "outrageous" and "without foundation of supporting facts."
July 8: Juniyah Palmer, Taylor's younger sister, releases a video taken by one of Taylor's neighbors showing the arrest of Walker, Taylor's boyfriend. Officers are heard giving Walker directions to walk backward and ask if he was hit by any bullets. Because police have not released footage from the aftermath of the shooting, this is one of the first glimpses into what happened the night Taylor died.
Additionally, Metro Council members write to Fischer, demanding his administration turn over all documents related to Taylor's case. "The trust between Louisville Metro and the people we serve is eroding at a pace that may soon pass the point of restoration," the letter says.
July 9: Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers announces he is working on proposed legislation that would essentially ban standalone, no-knock search warrants like the one Louisville police officers used to enter Taylor's apartment.
Newly released audio of police interviews conducted in March with Sgt. Mattingly and Walker reveal more about what happened the night Taylor died. Mattingly says that her apartment was a "soft target" because officers "knew where their target was."
July 13: Cameron states that he still has no timeline for the investigation into Taylor's death, and praises Fischer's decision a day earlier not to turn over "all documents" in Taylor's case to the Metro Council.
July 14: More than 100 protesters march to Cameron's home in Louisville's East End, demanding charges against the officers responsible for Taylor's death. Police arrest 87 people — including an NFL player and reality TV stars — and charge them all with a felony. (Felony charges were later dismissed.)
July 19: A change.org petition demanding justice for Taylor hits 10 million signatures, making it the website's second-largest petition ever.
July 23: Fischer tells The Courier Journal that he is "incredibly frustrated" by how long it is taking for Cameron to reach a decision regarding the officers involved in Taylor's death.
July 24: More than 100 protesters gathered in Louisville's NuLu neighborhood, blocking Market Street and setting up a block party in the road. Police arrest 76 people.
July 25: Two opposing, heavily armed militia groups converge on downtown Louisville. More than 300 members of the Atlanta-based Black militia NFAC, or "Not F***ing Around Coalition” come to support the Taylor protests, while a smaller group of 50 far-right “Three Percenter” militia members show up to back police. Three people are injured when a NFAC member accidentally discharges their weapon in Baxter Park.
July 27: The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the NAACP Legal Defense fund file a federal lawsuit against LMPD, saying the department has repeatedly used force and intimidation against peaceful protesters demanding justice for Taylor.
July 30: Oprah Winfrey announces she will give up the cover of her magazine for the first time, ceding it to Taylor's image. "We can't be silent," Winfrey wrote. "We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice." It is the first time in 20 years that Winfrey is not on the cover.
Aug. 2: About 30 people try to set the Hall of Justice ablaze, police say. The courthouse is next to Jefferson Square Park, which is at the heart of the ongoing protests.
Aug. 3: The Metro Council committee investigating Fischer's handling of Taylor's case and ensuing protests authorizes its first subpoenas after administration officials declined to testify in open session.
Aug. 6: Cameron tells The Courier Journal that his office is waiting for information on ballistics tests being done by the FBI.
Aug. 8: Michael Brown Sr., father of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., who was killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, joins Taylor's family in Louisville. More than 200 people attend the rally he speaks at.
Aug. 13: On the five-month anniversary of her daughter's death, Tamika Palmer speaks out, saying the movement has become "bigger than Breonna."
Aug. 14: After 25 days, two hunger strikers end their protest, which had begun on July 20. They had planned to abstain from food until Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly were fired and stripped of their pensions.
Aug. 16: State Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, announces she has proposed a bill to ban no-knock search warrants across Kentucky. The legislature has yet to take up the bill.
Aug. 17: Republicans on Metro Council call for a no-confidence vote in Fischer, saying he has "chosen to prevent" his staff from participating in hearings about his response to Taylor's death and ensuing protests.
Aug. 20: Seven senior citizens are charged with criminal trespassing and one is arrested after a sit-in on Cameron's front lawn.
Aug. 22: New York-based social justice group Until Freedom launches BreonnaCon, a four-day event in Louisville aimed to draw attention to Taylor's death.
Aug. 25: The Courier Journal first publishes findings from a leaked LMPD report compiled after Taylor's death that highlights her connections to Glover, her ex-boyfriend and a convicted drug trafficker.
That evening, BreonnaCon ends with a three-hour protest and march to Louisville Metro's Police Training Academy and Churchill Downs. A total of 71 people would be arrested during the day's protests.
Aug. 26: Upset at the leaked LMPD report that he feels tries to blame him for Taylor's death, Glover talks exclusively to The Courier Journal, saying Taylor never had any connections to illegal drug sales.
Aug. 30: Cameron announces he has received the FBI's ballistics results in the Taylor case.
Aug. 31: Wine disputes that Glover was ever offered a plea deal to name Taylor as a co-defendant in his criminal case after a social media post pictures a document Glover said he was asked to sign. Wine says it was a draft. A July 21 offer, later rescinded, doesn't name Taylor but did ask Glover to confirm that her apartment was used to "store proceeds from the trafficking operation."
Sept. 1: Walker sues LMPD, saying he is a victim of police misconduct and seeking immunity from prosecution for the shot that allegedly wounded Mattingly. He says in a statement that the charges were "meant to silence me and cover up Breonna's murder."
At a press conference, Walker's attorney questions whether it was actually Walker's bullet that struck Mattingly. "We know police are firing wildly from various angles," he tells The Courier Journal.
Sept. 2: Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden says the police officers who shot Taylor should be criminally charged.
Sept. 4: The protests demanding justice for Taylor reach their 100th consecutive day in Louisville.
Sept. 5: Hundreds of people protest outside of Churchill Downs during the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, chanting "No justice, no Derby!" Their efforts to stop the horse race were unsuccessful.
Sept. 8: A Jefferson County judge rules officials in Fischer's administration must testify publicly in Metro Council's investigation into the Taylor and McAtee cases.
Sept. 15: Taylor's family and the city announce a record-setting $12 million settlement in the wrongful death suit against the officers responsible for Taylor's death. While the payout is the largest ever on behalf of Louisville police, it also requires LMPD to enact a series of reforms.
Sept. 16: Louisville's Chief of Public Safety Amy Hess says "mistakes" were made in the city's response to protests for Taylor and racial justice.
Sept. 18: Downtown Louisville's federal courthouse is ordered closed Sept. 21-25 in anticipation of a decision. U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman also requested Homeland Security provide protection for the courthouse and three other adjacent federal buildings.
Sept. 21: LMPD declares a state of emergency, canceling all days off and vacation requests for officers. Downtown businesses are warned about "large crowds" that may arise in the wake of an announcement.
Sept. 22: In the early morning hours, LMPD announces it is "physically restricting access to the downtown area" and erects barricades around a 25-block perimeter downtown. Fischer issues an executive order declaring a state of emergency, and a second order restricting access to five parking garages and banning on-street parking. Mattingly, meanwhile, writes a six-paragraph email to more than 1,000 fellow officers, saying they did the "legal, moral and ethical thing" the night Taylor died.
Sept. 23: A grand jury indicts former detective Brett Hankson on three counts of felony wanton endangerment for firing bullets that went into an apartment next to Breonna Taylor's unit, where three people were present. No officers were indicted in Taylor's slaying. Protests hours later turn violent, and two Louisville police officers are shot but recover.
Sept. 25: Speaking publicly for the first time since the grand jury's indictment, Taylor's family and attorneys blast Cameron's handling of the case.
Sept. 28: Hankison pleads not guilty to the charges against him. Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith orders the grand jury recordings be filed publicly in the court system. The same day, an anonymous grand juror files a motion to be allowed to speak freely about the case.
Oct. 2: Fifteen hours of audio recordings from the Taylor grand jury are publicly released by Cameron's office. The recordings contain the testimony and evidence presented to grand jurors, but not prosecutor recommendations or juror deliberations.
Oct. 7: LMPD releases its Public Integrity Unit investigative file into Taylor's death.
Oct. 8: Attorneys for Cameron's office and the anonymous grand juror clash in court over the juror's motion to speak freely about the case. A day earlier, the Attorney General's Office filed a motion to dismiss, saying secrecy is the bedrock of grand jury proceedings.
Oct. 9: Before a judge had ruled regarding the grand juror's motion, Cameron's office files a motion to stay any potential order allowing the juror to speak.
Oct. 15: In a joint motion, Cameron's office and Hankison's defense attorney argue to keep evidence in the case out of public view until the former detective has a trial.
Oct. 20: In an exclusive interview with ABC News and The Courier Journal, Sgt. Mattingly says Taylor's death had 'nothing to do with race' and shouldn't be compared with the deaths of George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery. He also seeks to distance himself from the officer who secured the warrant for Taylor's apartment, saying Taylor would still be alive if officers used a true "no-knock" warrant and much more.
That same day, Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell rejects Cameron’s claim that grand jury proceedings had to remain secret. The anonymous grand juror quickly issues a statement saying the jurors weren't given the option to consider charges other than wanton endangerment.
Oct. 21: Speaking with The Courier Journal and ABC News, Walker responds to Mattingly's comments blaming Walker for Taylor's death. Walker calls the sergeant a murderer and speaks of his grief since losing Taylor.
Oct. 28: Speaking publicly, anonymous grand juror No. 1 and grand juror No. 2 both say more LMPD officers should have faced charges in the March 13 shooting and search warrant execution.
That same day, Palmer writes to the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council to request a new special prosecutor review her daughter's case.
Oct. 29:Mattingly counter-sues Walker, alleging assault, battery and emotional distress.
Oct. 30: A third anonymous grand juror comes forward, echoing statements that no charges were presented except wanton endangerment.
Nov. 7: Protesters move the Taylor memorial inside the Roots 101 African American Museum for the winter.
Nov. 10: Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith rules the evidence in Hankison's criminal case will be public, with some restrictions.
In civil court, a local attorney, Margo Borders, sues Hankison for an alleged sexual assault that left her "physically injured and mentally battered."
Nov. 19: Adrian O. Walker, one of the main suspects in the narcotics investigation that led police to Taylor's door, is fatally shot in the West End.
Nov. 20: The Courier Journal and ABC News documentary, "Breonna Taylor: Say Her Name," airs.
Dec. 4: The Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council unanimously declines to appoint a new prosecutor to review Taylor's death.
Dec. 11: Another prominent protester, 42-year-old Kris Smith, is fatally shot. An LMPD official says the department does not believe Smith's and Nagdy's slayings are related.
Dec. 15: Palmer and the Grassroots Law Project take out a full-page ad in The Washington Post urging President-elect Joe Biden to act on issues of police accountability.
Dec. 29: Louisville police move to fire detective Jaynes and Cosgrove.
Jan. 6, 2021: Former Atlanta police chief Erika Shields, who resigned after one of her officers shot a Black man in the back, is named Louisville's new chief. Detectives Cosgrove and Jaynes are officially fired. Mattingly is exonerated. Other officers are disciplined.
Jan. 19: Shields is sworn in as LMPD's new chief.
Jan. 21: Cameron announces he is launching a task force to study search warrants across Kentucky, fulfilling a promise he'd made in September.
Jan. 23: Three grand jurors from the Taylor case announce they are filing a petition seeking to impeach Cameron.
Jan. 28: An external review of LMPD finds the department "in crisis" and its relationships with many communities "deeply strained." The review by Chicago-based Hillard Heintze was ordered in the wake of Taylor and McAtee's shooting deaths.
Feb. 2: Hankison's attorney files a motion seeking to have the ex-cop's trial moved outside of Louisville, citing an "avalanche of publicity."
Feb. 8: City crews clear Jefferson Square Park, long the hub of the protest movement in Louisville, and help find housing for people who had been living in an encampment in the park.
Reporter Darcy Costello contributed to this story. Reach Tessa Duvall at firstname.lastname@example.org and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.