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The Killing of Breonna Taylor, Part 1

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When asked about Breonna Taylor, her loved ones paint a picture of a determined, responsible young woman: “One of those people she made a plan and she went — that was it.”

As part of an investigation for The New York Times, our correspondent Rukmini Callimachi and the documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen spent weeks interviewing those who were closest to Ms. Taylor, who was killed in her home by the police in Louisville, Ky., in March. She was 26.

“She taught me stuff my own people, my own siblings, my own mother didn’t teach me,” Preonia Flakes, Ms. Taylor’s cousin, told Rukmini and Yoruba.

Kenneth Walker, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, said: “She was just so kind and loving and caring.”

The first of her family to graduate from high school, with an interest in medicine and health care, she emerged from the discussions as someone who, despite being dealt a tough hand in life, was determined to push beyond the limitations of her circumstance.

Ms. Taylor, left, with her mother, Tamika Palmer. Credit…via Bianca Austin

At the beginning of 2020, Ms. Taylor posted on social media that it was going to be her year. After an apparent low point, her life was changing: She was planning a family with Mr. Walker, she had a new job and a new car. She had also blocked Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer with whom she had been romantically involved on and off since 2016, from her phone.

But forces were already in motion. The Louisville Police Department was preparing raids on locations it had linked to Mr. Glover — and Ms. Taylor’s address was on the target list.

Today, in the first of two parts, we explore Ms. Taylor’s life and how law enforcement ended up at her door.

Rukmini Callimachi contributed reporting.

“The Daily” is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Julia Longoria, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi and Rachelle Bonja. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.

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