Breonna Taylor petition draws 10M signatures, 2nd-highest ever on Change.org

Breonna Taylor petition draws 10M signatures, 2nd-highest ever on Change.org

A Change.org petition demanding justice in the death of Breonna Taylor has more than 10 million signatures, the second-highest number in the website’s history.

The online appeal was created by law student Loralei HoJay, according to a Change.org tweet and press release, and calls for the firing and arrest of the three Louisville Metro police officers involved in the raid on Taylor’s home on March 13, during which she was shot to death.

“There have been no charges thus far (it has been nearly 4 months). Their pensions must be revoked,” the petition, titled “Justice for Breonna Taylor” reads.

One of the officers involved, Sgt. Brett Hankison, was fired in June for “wantonly and blindly” firing into Taylor’s apartment, according to his termination letter. The two other officers, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, were placed on administrative leave.

The Kentucky attorney general is investigating the case.

The online petition is addressed to President Donald Trump, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron and others. The number of signatures hit the 10 million mark on Sunday after people from all over the world signed.

That is second only to 19 million who signed a petition seeking justice for George Floyd, according to a press release from the online-petition website that was launched in 2007. Floyd was killed in May after a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

HoJay did not immediately return a request for comment. The law student wrote in the petition that Taylor, a former emergency medical technician, “was not only an exemplary citizen, but an essential one.”

It calls on the governor to “speak up on behalf of Breonna” and asks that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the police department.

The death of 26-year-old Taylor after she was shot multiple times in the police raid prompted widespread protests.

Her mother filed a lawsuit against three officers, which was amended earlier this month to allege that the raid at the home was connected to a gentrification project and was started “with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project.”

“One of the primary roadblocks to this unit and the real estate development project was an ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, who rented a home on Elliott Avenue,” the lawsuit stated, adding that Taylor lived on a different street more than 10 miles away.

Her address was listed on the police search warrant based on their belief that a suspect, her ex-boyfriend, had used her home to keep drugs or stash money. The warrant also stated that a car registered to Taylor was seen parked on several occasions in front of a “drug house” known to her ex-boyfriend.

The lawsuit says that Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were scared when the police entered the home and that Walker, who is a licensed firearm carrier, grabbed his gun out of a fear the home was being broken into. Walker fired a “warning shot,” after which police proceeded ‘to shoot erratically” into the home, killing Taylor, the suit says.

Emails and phone calls to the lawyers for Cosgrove and Mattingly did not receive an immediate response Wednesday.

A lawyer for Hankison, Carol Schureck Petitt, declined to comment for this story.

Another lawyer, David Leightty, who according to The Courier-Journal is representing Hankinson, told the outlet in June that his client’s firing was a “cowardly political act.”

“It would have taken courage and integrity to calmly state: ‘We must wait until the investigations have been completed and the evidence is in hand before making any determinations regarding discipline,’ ” he wrote in an appeal obtained by The Courier-Journal.

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