Water, coffee, herbal tea, vitamins.
For almost two weeks that’s been the full diet of four hunger strikers demanding further accountability for the Louisville Metro Police Department officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor.
On Sunday the hunger strikers said they’re feeling the physical effects of caloric deprivation. But they also affirmed their resolve to intake fewer than 50 calories per day until the LMPD officers are fired and stripped of their pensions.
“We haven’t given up because we’re confident we’ll get what we want,” said Ari Maybe, a hunger striker who spoke at a press conference Sunday morning at the Carl Braden Memorial Center.
The hunger strikers said they’ve been in conversation with several local legislators but haven’t heard from Mayor Greg Fischer.
Taylor was killed in March, during the middle of the night as officers executed a warrant at her apartment. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot at the officers, hitting one; he later said he believed the apartment was being invaded. Three officers fired back and hit Taylor five times, killing her. Brett Hankison, one of the three officers involved, was fired in June. For months Fischer and others have said state law and the police union contract prohibit firing the other officers until the completion of a thorough investigation.
The office of Ky. Attorney General Daniel Cameron is investigating Taylor’s death, and Fischer told WFPL last week further charges in the case will be up to Cameron.
For the hunger strikers, that justification doesn’t excuse inaction.
“Gregory Fisher, we know you have the ability to fire these officers. You had the ability yesterday, or three months ago. You can take this action right now,” said hunger striker Vincent Gonzalez. “The good citizens of Louisville and the world deserve an answer as to why these police officers are still employed.”
Tabin Ibershoff, another hunger striker, said the threat of lawsuits shouldn’t deter the mayor.
“I challenge him to get sued,” Ibershoff said. “The city gets sued all the time. I’d rather be in a city that’s in debt [from lawsuits] than one that treats its citizens like this.”
Protesters demanding justice for Taylor have been on the streets of Louisville for more than two months. Like the street protests, which feature a number of livestreamers documenting the efforts on social media, the hunger strikers have live-streamed themselves on a Facebook page “Hunger Strikers for Breonna.”
Although rumors are widespread about when the attorney general will complete the investigation into Taylor’s death — and whether or not that investigation will lead to further arrests — the hunger strikers said they’ll continue “until their demands are met.”
“In the case that non-indictment is announced, our demand still stands,” Ibershoff said. “Fire these reckless, killer cops. Seek accountability for all those responsible.”