UPDATE: This first version of this article was published before Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a grand jury had indicted a former police officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s death on three counts of wanton endangerment. Still, several Congressional Democrats continued to accuse law enforcement of murdering her, claiming justice had not been served. Originally headlined “14 Dems In Congress Who Said Law Enforcement ‘Murdered’ Breonna Taylor,” this list has been updated and expanded to include those elected officials.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is among the chorus of progressives who have vaguely demanded justice and accountability in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was killed by white police officers who raided her Louisville, Kentucky home in March. Many of those calls have not accused the cops involved of specific crimes. But some of Sen. Biden’s Democratic colleagues in Congress concur with the legal analysis of the Jonas Brothers, Kim Kardashian, and Michelle Obama, who concluded early on that law enforcement murdered Taylor.
They include Biden’s VP pick, every member of the progressive quartet called “The Squad,” and Congressman Ted Lieu, perhaps best known for his attempts to troll President Trump on Twitter.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 2, 2020
Meanwhile, misinformation has flooded social media, contaminating the national discourse by distorting the basic facts of the case. For instance, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has repeatedly promoted the false claim that Taylor “was asleep in her bed” when she was shot and killed.
Now, the Louisville Metro Police Department braces for potential social unrest, declaring a State of Emergency as the country awaits an announcement on whether any of the officers involved will face criminal charges.
Here are 14 Democrats in the U.S. Congress who used their social media platforms to advance the idea that Taylor was “murdered” by law enforcement:
1. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), Democratic vice-presidential candidate
The former prosecutor has repeatedly called for all three cops who discharged their weapons inside Taylor’s home to be arrested and charged with murder.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was visiting Breonna at her apartment the night of her death. He said the couple had awoken when they heard banging on the front door. Walker said they did not know police were there to execute a warrant. As they scrambled to get dressed, Walker recalled grabbing his gun, then firing at the plainclothes officers after the door came off the hinges. The cops returned fire, shooting more than 20 rounds into the apartment, killing Breonna, who died in the hallway.
Sen. Harris claimed police “left her there to die” after shooting her five times. “Breonna Taylor deserved better and I will not rest calling for justice until all the officers involved in her murder are charged,” she continued.
They left her there to die.
Breonna Taylor deserved better and I will not rest calling for justice until all the officers involved in her murder are charged. https://t.co/scHpNiyyn1
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 17, 2020
2. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York)
AOC said Taylor’s death shows why legislative mandates intended to reform law enforcement agencies don’t always result in meaningful change.
“The problem is police breaking the law,” she tweeted. “Murder is already illegal,” Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez continued, “but the officers who killed Breonna Taylor STILL haven’t been arrested.”
“Taking on that abuse of power often takes major political risk.”
This is the issue w/ many “reforms”: yes, you can pass certain laws, but the problem is police *breaking the law.*
Murder is already illegal, but the officers who killed Breonna Taylor STILL haven’t been arrested.
Taking on that abuse of power often takes major political risk. https://t.co/zITJneHmfa
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 12, 2020
3. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), “The Squad”
Shortly after George Floyd’s death sparked protests and riots in Minneapolis and beyond, Rep. Omar told her Twitter followers that Taylor “was murdered in her home by police officers who continue to walk free.”
“We won’t see true justice until the officers are held accountable,” she said in another tweet.
“The war on drugs, mass criminalization, and increasingly militarized police forces have led to the targeting, torture and murder of countless Americans, disproportionately black and brown,” Congresswoman Omar said.
Breonna Taylor should have turned 27 today.
She was murdered in her home by police officers who continue to walk free.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 5, 2020
4. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), “The Squad”
On June 5, Tlaib posted on Facebook: “#BreonnaTaylor should be celebrating her 27th birthday today. Instead, the world is mourning her murder by police.”
Reps. Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) teamed up to craft a proposal to defund law enforcement agencies and redistribute that money to social programs.
“We can start to envision through this bill a new version for public safety – a new vision for public safety, one that protects and affirms Black lives,” Tlaib reportedly said on a Zoom conference call.
5. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), “The Squad”
“It’s been 6 months since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home,” Congresswoman Pressley recently tweeted. “She should be alive right now. The officers who killed her must be held accountable.”
It’s been 6 months since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home.
She should be alive right now.
The officers who killed her must be held accountable.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) September 14, 2020
In May, Rep. Pressley called on the House of Representatives to condemn all acts of police brutality, racial profiling, and excessive use of force.
“For too long, Black and brown bodies have been profiled, surveilled, policed, lynched, choked, brutalized and murdered at the hands of police officers,” she said, adding “there can be no justice” for Breonna’s death.
“There must, however, be accountability.”
6. Rep. Ted Lieu. (D-California)
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many other Black Americans would disagree with you, if they were still alive and not murdered by our government.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 6, 2020
In a letter to his colleagues written earlier this year, Lieu said protests “against the structural racism embedded in our country” were a response “to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.”
“Congress and state legislatures need to pass laws to reform our justice system and our institutions,” Congressman Lieu said in another statement that referenced “generations of black Americans who died at the hands of our government.”
7. Rep. Karen Bass (D-California), Considered for Biden’s VP pick, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus
Media touted Congresswoman Bass as a top contender to join Biden’s Democratic presidential ticket. She is in her fifth congressional term, but her roots go back to L.A.’s progressive organizing scene,
“The police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor should be arrested,” Bass recently tweeted.
According to the New York Times, “It was Ms. Bass who hatched the idea for Democratic leaders, including several who are white, to don colorful African kente-cloth stoles” at a news conference unveiling a police reform bill. Lawmakers then knelt in silence to honor Taylor and other Black people killed by police.
Y’all spelled Breonna’s name wrong #1 and #2 the kente cloths show just how Tone-deaf our representatives are. We need ACTION not this performative bullshit. https://t.co/SukuTLzJEP
— Joan hate account (@seabelissa) June 8, 2020
8. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California)
Congresswoman Lee, who is up for re-election in November, has served residents of the Bay Area for 12 congressional terms.
“Justice delayed is not acceptable,” she said last week. “The cops who murdered Breonna Taylor should be arrested, indicted, and held accountable for their actions.”
Justice delayed is not acceptable.
The cops who murdered Breonna Taylor should be arrested, indicted, and held accountable for their actions.
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) September 16, 2020
In a May press release, Lee expressed the need “to fix the relationships between law enforcement and black and brown people.”
“We have seen far too many young men and women of color murdered by police for as little as driving their car, riding public transportation, having a cell phone, or just being in their own homes,” she said.
9. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in Taylor’s death, lost his job in June after superiors determined he had violated department procedures. He was accused of demonstrating “extreme indifference to the value of human life” by “wantonly and blindly” shooting into Taylor’s apartment.
After Hankison was fired, Rep. Castro (D-Texas) tweeted, “He should be charged with murder.”
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) June 24, 2020
Castro’s identical twin brother, Julián, who served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, agreed.
“Breonna’s family deserves recompense for her wrongful murder — and they deserve justice, too,” Julián Castro recently tweeted. “We must overhaul police accountability in order to save lives and save taxpayers the many millions of dollars they have to shell out every year to cover for a broken system.”
Last week, the City of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family. However, the city did not admit to any wrongdoing.
“It is just an acknowledgment of the need for reform and the need for a settlement to take place,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
10. Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-California)
#BreonnaTaylor was an award-winning EMT. An aspiring nurse. A friend.
Should be celebrating her 27th birthday today, but was shot & killed by police while asleep in her bed.
— Nanette D. Barragán (@RepBarragan) June 5, 2020
At a protest in L.A. County, Barragán reportedly led protesters in reciting the names of Taylor and others who have been killed by police officers.
“We need action now,” Barragán told a crowd at a demonstration at Carson City Hall. “And we need to stop killing black Americans and we need to hold … our police accountable when it is done.”
11. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)
“We cannot forget the Black women who have been murdered at the hands of the police,” Sen. Smith said in June, adding, “it’s been 84 days since [Taylor’s] murder and the officers responsible have not been held accountable.”
“This is a gross injustice,” she added. “We must bring justice to Breonna and continue to uplift Black women.”
Breonna Taylor should be alive today. It’s been 84 days since her murder and the officers responsible have not been held accountable. This is a gross injustice. We must bring justice to Breonna and continue to uplift Black women.
— Tina Smith (@TinaSmithMN) June 5, 2020
During a speech on the Senate Floor, Smith said Taylor was killed by “police brutality and systemic racism.” She went on to repeat the falsehood that Taylor was killed “in her own bed.”
12. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)
“It has been six months since police officers murdered Breonna Taylor,” Jayapal tweeted last week. “It is long overdue that her killers finally be brought to justice.”
It has been six months since police officers murdered Breonna Taylor. It is long overdue that her killers finally be brought to justice.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 13, 2020
Her office told NPR that Jayapal supports diverting money away from police and redistributing those funds to public programs, but insists she’s not in favor of defunding police departments.
13. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-New York)
In May, Congresswoman Clarke issued a statement that categorized Taylor as a Black American who was “slaughtered by police.” The following week, on Breonna’s birthday, she tweeted, “we are mourning her tragic murder at the hands of Louisville police.”
Breonna Taylor should be celebrating her 27th birthday, but instead, we are mourning her tragic murder at the hands of Louisville police.
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) June 5, 2020
At the time, she faced primary challenges from other Democrats deemed by some to be more progressive. Clarke won the June 23 primary, leaving her in a good position for re-election in November. The longtime Brooklyn politician represents a safe blue district.
14. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York)
Congresswoman Maloney’s website includes a page dedicated to “Police Accountability and Criminal Justice Reform,” which references “protests in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed (sic) Arbery.” She has also cited Taylor’s death as evidence of “the lack of accountability when it comes to the murder of Black people in America.”
“Justice must be served and we need laws to ensure excessive use of force is immediately punishable by law,” she continued.
The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor underscore the lack of accountability when it comes to the murder of Black people in America.
Justice must be served & we need laws to ensure excessive use of force is immediately punishable by law#BlackLivesMatter
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) June 3, 2020
UPDATE: After a Kentucky grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton on endangerment on Wednesday, some Democrats in Congress continued to claim Taylor was ‘murdered’ by law enforcement. They include:
15. Rep. Mark Pocan. (D-Wisconsin)
In June, Congressman Pocan introduced the Police Training and Accountability Act to establish a national training standard for law enforcement officers. He was one of the first members of Congress to express his disappointment with the grand jury’s decision publicly.
“194 days since Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by police and the result is only one officer charged-and not even for her murder,” Pocan tweeted. “This is injustice. Breonna Taylor’s life mattered.”
194 days since Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by police and the result is only one officer charged—and not even for her murder.
This is injustice.
Breonna Taylor's life mattered. https://t.co/f0CNrI6J43
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) September 23, 2020
16. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland)
In his second congressional term, Rep. Brown serves as Vice-Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
“We still demand justice for Breonna Taylor,” he tweeted shortly after Wednesday’s announcement. “Justice for her murder. Justice for her family. Justice for her community.”
We still demand justice for Breonna Taylor. Justice for her murder. Justice for her family. Justice for her community
We cannot accept a reality where Black Americans can be executed on the street or killed in their homes by those sworn to protect ushttps://t.co/LIMbKgthIk
— Anthony Brown (@RepAnthonyBrown) September 23, 2020
“We cannot accept a reality where Black Americans can be executed on the street or killed in their homes by those sworn to protect us.”
17. Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Virginia)
McEachin has represented Virginia’s 4th District since 2017.
On Wednesday, the congressman tweeted: “What happened to Breonna Taylor was not wanton endangerment. It was murder. All officers responsible should be charged. We cannot rest in demanding #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor until every officer involved is charged for their role in her death. Her life mattered. Black lives matter.”
What happened to Breonna Taylor was not wanton endangerment. It was murder. All officers responsible should be charged. We cannot rest in demanding #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor until every officer involved is charged for their role in her death. Her life mattered. Black lives matter.
— Rep. Donald McEachin (@RepMcEachin) September 23, 2020
McEachin recently urged officials in the Department of Defense to consider renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders.
18. Rep. Jim Cooper. (D-Tennessee)
Cooper is a member of the Dem’s Blue Dog Coalition, representing the Nashville-based 5th Congressional District. Last month, he won his first primary challenge in a decade.
“This is an absolute travesty,” Cooper said, reacting to the grand jury’s decision. “This wasn’t endangerment, it was murder.”
“Breonna Taylor deserves justice. #BlackLivesMatter”
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) September 23, 2020
19. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland)
Several months ago, Sen. Cardin’s office had already determined that the officers involved had committed criminal acts. A press release issued on June 5 referred to Taylor’s death as a “murder…at the hands of police.”
“It shouldn’t have taken this long to bring charges against the officer responsible for the murder of #BreonnaTaylor,” he tweeted on Wednesday, adding, “but this indictment is still a long way from justice. All officers involved must be held fully accountable for her death.”
It shouldn’t have taken this long to bring charges against the officer responsible for the murder of #BreonnaTaylor, but this indictment is still a long way from justice. All officers involved must be held fully accountable for her death. https://t.co/1EtNUthlDU
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) September 23, 2020
20. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts)
Markey spent 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2013. He is up for re-election in November.
“The police murdered Breonna Taylor,” Sen. Markey concluded. “No one was charged with murder. This is an intentional insult to those fighting for change, the Black Lives Matter movement and, most importantly, Breonna.”
“We cannot and will not stop fighting for justice.”
The police murdered Breonna Taylor. No one was charged with murder. This is an intentional insult to those fighting for change, the Black Lives Matter movement and, most importantly, Breonna. We cannot and will not stop fighting for justice.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) September 23, 2020
The leader of the Massachusetts Police Association recently called for Markey to step down after the senator pushed to disarm officers of “weapons of war,” including riot control agents like tear gas.
21. Rep. Judy Chu (D-California)
Rep. Chu is among a select group of lawmakers who continued to spread erroneous information about the police officers after the grand jury’s decision was made public.
Chu falsely claimed Taylor “was shot while asleep in her own bed.” This allegation was debunked by several media outlets months ago, but is still a widely-held belief by several people who have not studied the case thoroughly.
#BreonnaTaylor deserves justice, not excuses for why it was okay that she was shot while asleep in her own bed in her own home. It's not okay. It's not right. It cannot be normal. The House's Justice in Policing Act would end No Knock Warrants, like the one used in her murder
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) September 23, 2020
Congresswoman Chu also pushed for federal legislation to “end No Knock Warrants, like the one used in (Breonna’s) murder.”
Still, the police officers involved in the raid at Taylor’s home knocked before entering her apartment.
They excuse the murder of #BreonnaTaylor.
They encourage anti-Asian hate crimes with slurs like "China virus."
They justify tearing apart immigrant families & imprisoning children.
They call Nazis “very fine people.”
When they say "Law & Order", they mean "For Whites Only"
— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) September 24, 2020
On Thursday, Chu described Taylor’s death as a “murder” again in a subtweet that appears to be referencing President Trump and his supporters.
22. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts)
Although he disagreed with the war, Congressman Moulton served four tours of duty in Iraq as an infantry officer.
“This decision tells Breonna Taylor’s killers – and all other law enforcement – it’s okay to murder the people they swore to protect,” Moulton said. “She and her family are still owed justice.”
This decision tells Breonna Taylor's killers—and all other law enforcement—it's okay to murder the people they swore to protect. She and her family are still owed justice. https://t.co/BiLNWNNDFK
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) September 24, 2020
Rep. Moulton has said, “everything needs to be on the table” when considering police reforms.
“It is not enough to pass new regulations and new training,” Moulton told WCVB News earlier this year. “We truly need to change the culture of policing in America, and the relationship police departments have with the communities they are here to serve.”
23. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon)
On Wednesday, Rep. Blumenauer called for the Senate to pass legislation to “ban the type of no-knock warrant” that he claims “led to Breonna’s murder.”
“Outraged for Breonna Taylor and her family,” Congressman Blumenauer said. “The policing system failed. Now the justice system has failed.”
“Systemic change is long overdue.”
Outraged for Breonna Taylor and her family. The policing system failed. Now the justice system has failed.
Systematic change is long overdue.
The Senate must join the House in passing our Justice in Policing Act to ban the type of no-knock warrant that led to Breonna's murder.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) September 23, 2020
Congressman Blumenauer represents Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District. He joined other politicians representing that state in condemning the presence of federal law enforcement in Portland earlier this year. They co-signed a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in July expressing “urgent concerns about how those engaging in illegal use of force against demonstrators will be held accountable.”
24. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Michigan)
Congressman Levin’s website describes him as “a union organizer, human rights activist, workforce policy expert and green energy entrepreneur.” He is also an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and has done legal work for asylum seekers.
After the grand jury determined insufficient evidence to charge any of the cops involved with criminal homicide, Levin spoke out against the decision.
“No officers charged for her murder, but for ‘wanton endangerment’ for the risk to innocent lives,” he tweeted. “Breonna Taylor was an innocent life. This is not justice.”
No officers charged for her murder, but for "wanton endangerment" for the risk to innocent lives. Breonna Taylor was an innocent life. This is not justice.
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) September 24, 2020
25. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Speaker of the House
After the decision, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shared her thoughts during a press conference.
“Justice was denied for Breonna Taylor and her family,” she said. “Just think if it were your daughter, your sister, your cousin, your relative, your friend who was murdered by the police, and the charging decision held no one accountable for her death.”
Pelosi went on to urge the Senate to pass the Justice In Policing Act, which was approved by the House in June.
“We owe it to Breonna Taylor,” she said.
Speaker Pelosi: "Justice was denied for Breonna Taylor and her family. Just think if it were your daughter, your sister, your cousin, your relative, your friend who was murdered by the police and the charging decision held no one accountable for her death." pic.twitter.com/ZpyC5tWBHN
— The Hill (@thehill) September 24, 2020
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