Jovan Lynell marched in protest of the Breonna Taylor decision. (Courtesy of Andre Mamola )

Flint, MI—Jovan Lynell has marched in several protests since the beginning of the year, to stand up against the killing of Black men and women at the hands of the police. 

And she is tired. 

I’m tired of marching. Sick of it, and that’s only having gone to the amount I’ve been able to in my life so far. I’m 22 years old,” she said. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was marching, y’all shot him, killed him, then tried to make him the poster child for post-racial America. But I’m out here still marching.”

Lynell, an artist and activist, marched alongside other Flint activists the past two days in protest of the decision in the Breonna Taylor case. 

On Sept. 23, a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky decided none of the officers involved in the shooting of Taylor would be criminally charged for her death.

Lynell called the decision “asinine,” “insulting,” and “piss-poor.”

“I’m extremely upset because at this point he is being charged for the shots he missed,” Lynell said. “If she caught them all, would he have caught any charges? They made an entire media spectacle out of this girl and they won’t give her no justice.”

Police officers killed Taylor, a young Black emergency technician, in March during a raid on her apartment. The police were investigating two men, one of whom was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, who were selling drugs at another location. 

A judge signed off on a warrant allowing police to search Taylor’s residence because police believed the men had sent packages to her apartment. There were no drugs found in her home.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he did not hear the police announce themselves and fired the first shot, hitting Sgt. Mattingly’s leg, after police banged loudly on their door and then knocked it off its hinges. The three officers fired several rounds back, hitting Taylor five times, and then failed to give her medical attention. 

Detective Brett Hankinson was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for the shots fired at Taylor’s next-door neighbors’ apartment, not for those fired at her. 

He could receive up to five years in prison for that felony, which is the lowest of four classes of felonies in Kentucky law. His bail is set at $15,000.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove did not receive any charges. 

On Sept. 25, two days after the decision, Lynell said there were only a few dozen protestors the past couple nights.

“I wish we all would feel like it’s our responsibility to be out there, but most Black people never get to stop going to work,” she said. 

When it comes to Flint, residents have seen so much tragedy that, “they’re desensitized. Traumatized,” she said.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley denounced the decision in a press release issued the day after it was announced. 

“I am issuing an urgent plea to U.S. Attorney General William Barr to restore the faith of the American people in our criminal justice system by fully investigating and prosecuting the failures of those involved in the death of Breonna Taylor as well as the systematic failures that allowed this tragic shooting to occur,” Neeley said. 

In the press release, Neeley said the city will be “reviewing our policies on no-knock warrants and continue our work to proactively institute protections for all our residents.”

“The family of Ms. Taylor and the American people deserve swift action to deliver justice,” Neeley said. “Ms. Taylor’s death has weighed heavily on this nation. As a predominantly black community, it also weighs heavily on the hearts of many here in Flint.

Lynell said the protestors heard about the statement and appreciated it, but want to see more. 

“If he truly supports us, why didn’t he walk with us? Elected officials should make it loud and clear how fed up they are,” she said. 

Amy Diaz

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...

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