MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - One year has passed since Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her apartment after police forced their way into her residence during a botched drug raid.
Since her death, Taylor’s name has become synonymous with the fight against police brutality and discrimination against Black Americans, along with a lengthy list of others who similarly lost their lives in the name of racial violence.
According to Yale University, 5,367 fatal police shootings have occurred in the last five years. Roughly 25% of those fatalities were Black, despite Black Americans making up only 13% of the United States population. This discrepancy has been illuminated by the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Travon Martin—just to name a few.
In Minnesota, the death of George Floyd sparked a call to action for local protests and rallies; demanding changes to the justice system, specifically, the Minneapolis Police Department.
Bukata Hayes, the Executive Director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, said, “Each day almost, we are reminded by interactions, by exchanges, by situations in which this country has not reckoned with race as it should have and it comes rolling down like thunder on us.”
Mankato Public Safety officers such as Matt DuRose joined local movements, assuring locals that public safety officials will improve policing for all citizens. He stated, “Let me hear your experience so that we can ensure that we are making the changes necessary and influencing the policies that are referenced here.”
Friday, the City of Minneapolis settled a civil lawsuit with the family of George Floyd. The city agreed to pay a $27 million settlement in what is the largest pretrial civil settlement on record according to the Floyd Family’s attorney Benjamin Crump. George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, said “Even though my brother is not here, he’s here with me in my heart because if I could get him back, I would give all of this back.”
Looking ahead, the community continues to work on advocating for equality, justice, and police reform. Legislation has been passed preventing no-knock warrants and police kneeling on the airways of citizens. While reforms have been made, there is still work to be done.
“When we see what happened with George Floyd and the aftermath, that lets me know, and I hope that that let’s folks witnessing that know, that there are some conversations that we have not had that we cannot put off any longer,” Hayes added.
Jury selection in the Derek Chauvin trial is still underway with the eyes of the world watching closely.