17:39 GMT20 January 2021
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    The killing of Breonna Taylor is just one of several deaths of African Americans at the hands of police this year that have sparked mass protests by the Black Lives Matter movement across the US.

    Police in Oakland, California have launched an investigation after a bust dedicated to deceased African American emergency room technician, Breonna Taylor, was smashed into pieces.

    The police are "aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honouring Breonna Taylor", Bay Area public media outlet KQED reported.

    The ceramic bust was placed in downtown Oakland just two weeks ago with the phrase reading "Say Her Name Breonna Taylor".

    ​At the same time, the sculpture's author, Leo Carson, has stated that he's planning to repair the bust and cover it in bronze. Mr Carson has launched a campaign to help gather funds for the upcoming work.

    "This vandalism is an act of racist aggression, and it shows why sculpture and art matters. I made this sculpture to support the Black Lives Matter movement and while I'm overcome with rage and sadness at their cowardly act, their vandalism will make her even more potent", Carson told KQED outlet.

    Breonna Taylor was killed in her apartment in March when police officers forced entry into her house. Taylor's boyfriend, who was also inside, said he did not hear the officers announce themselves as police and allegedly fired the first shot in self-defence fearing the entrants were burglars. That prompted the police officers to unleash a hail of bullets, hitting Taylor several times.

    In September, a grand jury ruled to absolve the three policemen accused of killing her, indicting one on wanton endangerment instead, and clearing the two others of their charges altogether.

    The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013, grew stronger this year following the killing of 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, in May 2020.

    Following the killing, nationwide protests against racism and police brutality erupted in the US. The movement's supporters call for "defunding" police departments and redirecting cash flow to social services.

    Tags:
    Investigation, Breonna Taylor, police, Oakland, U.S
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