Know Their Names

A tribute to those that have lost their lives to police brutality.



The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the lives that have been lost to police brutality. This is a tribute to the few innocent lives that have been taken. Know their names.

Breonna Taylor (June 5, 1993 – March 13, 2020) 

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old African American emergency medical technician. She had big dreams to work in the medical and health fields after serving as an EMT. 

“She was a better version of me,” Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, said. “Full of life. Easy to love.”

Taylor was shot eight times after the Louisville police forced an entry into her apartment while executing a nighttime warrant in a narcotics investigation. The investigation has since been called a botched drug-warrant execution. It had been assumed that her apartment was being used to receive drug packages. Police opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot one of the officers in the leg. He was expected to make a full recovery once he made it to the ambulance, but Breonna didn’t make it past her bedroom floor. The lives of both Taylor and Walker will never be the same.

“At this point it’s bigger than Breonna, it’s bigger than just Black Lives,” Palmer said. “We’ve got to figure out how to fix the city, how to heal from here.”

The Taylor family has since sought legal fees through a jury trial. The case was given to a grand jury to decide whether criminal charges should be filed. The Louisville police have since released a statement saying that the Taylor family reached a $12 million settlement.


Elijah McClain (February 25, 1996 – August 30, 2020)

Elijah McClain was a 23-year-old black man that died at the hands of the police in Aurora, Colorado. McClain suffered from asthma and anemia. He was walking home from a convenience store on August 24, 2019 when the police received a call saying that there was a man that looked “sketchy.” The police arrived and after being unable to handcuff McClain, held him in a chokehold. (This has since been prohibited.) During this, paramedics injected Elijah with ketamine, a powerful sedative. McClain went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died a few days later. 

“I miss him every day,” Elijah’s mother Sheneed McClain said. “He brought joy to everyone who met him. The world is a darker place without him.”

McClain was a shy and introverted young man that was constantly focused on helping others. He taught himself how to play the guitar and violin and played the violin to stray cats. A violin vigil was held on June 27 in McClain’s hometown of Aurora. The peaceful vigil was disrupted by the police who began to spray chemicals at the participants, as well as walk around carrying batons.

“A call went out for bowed instrument players to come to Aurora’s City Center Park for an improvised, peaceful jam to honor, and grieve the senseless loss of Elijah McClain,” arts journalist John Moore said. 


George Floyd (October 14, 2o2o – May 25, 2020) 

George Floyd was a father, a brother, a coach, a son, and a friend. He spent his life uplifting the people around him and working to improve the lives of others close to him. 

Floyd was born in North Carolina, but grew up in Houston, Texas. He was a star tight end for the Jack Yates High School football team and helped lead them to the championship at the Houston Astrodome. George also played basketball for two years at South Florida community college before transferring to Texas A&M.

“We used to call him ‘Big Friendly,’” former teammate, Cervaanz Williams said.

Floyd was a successful athlete throughout high school and college, but his life took a different turn when he was arrested in 2007 for theft and drug possession. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Upon being released on parole in 2013, close friends stated that he came home with his head on right, something had changed in him. He spent his time focusing on the needs of the community in Houston. He became a counselor and mentor to the youth in his neighborhood. 

“There were times he had more of an impact than their own parents,” Tiffany Cofield, a former teacher at Hope Academy Charter School said.

In 2014, Floyd moved to Minneapolis looking for a fresh start in life. He worked as a truck driver and bouncer, but was laid off due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

On May 15, 2020, George Floyd was suspected of exchanging a fake $20 bill at a market. Once police arrived, Floyd was handcuffed and put into the back of a cop car. Officer Derek Chauvin later arrived and had Floyd step out of the vehicle. Stepping out, he fell to the ground. Chauvin immediately placed his knee between Floyd’s neck and head, blocking his airways. Floyd exclaimed over 20 times that he could not breathe and pleaded for his life. Chauvin removed his knee after eight minutes.

Floyd was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead about an hour later. He is survived by five children.

“He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away,” Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross said. “We prayed every meal, we prayed if we were having a hard time, we prayed if we were having a good time.”