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Video: Leslie Smith explains her decision to wear a Breonna Taylor t-shirt at Bellator 245

Bellator MMA’s Leslie Smith called for the arrest of police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her apartment in March.

Bellator MMA

Last Friday, at Bellator 245, Leslie Smith put in a solid performance to defeat Amanda Bell by unanimous decision.

During her walk to the cage Smith wore a t-shirt that read: Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.

Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department in Louisiville, KY on March 13, 2020. She was 26-years-old.

The shooting of Taylor occurred during a police raid on the apartment Taylor lived in with Kenneth Walker. Three plain-clothed police officers, who claimed the apartment was a ‘known drug house’, used a battering ram to break down the apartment door shortly after midnight.

Walker has stated that Taylor yelled “Who is it?” after hearing loud banging on the door, but received no answer. Walker said that, in response to this, he armed himself with a firearm. Walker is a licensed firearm carrier.

When the door broke open, Walker fired on the police officers, striking one in the leg. The police fired over 20 rounds in response, shooting Taylor eight times. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Sources told WAVE3 News that one of the officers fired blindly into the apartment through a window with closed blinds and curtains.

No drugs were found in the apartment.

The police officers involved in the shooting—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove—were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Taylor was an emergency medical technician who worked for the University of Louisville. Her killing sparked protests in Louisville and beyond.

Her name is often is often invoked during rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which intensified after the death of George Floyd—who died in May after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

After her win at Bellator 245, Smith spoke about why she wore a t-shire calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting. You can see her comments below, in video provided by MMA Fighting.

A transcript of what Smith said about Taylor and the Black Lives Matter movement is available below, via MMA Junkie:

“Today is 9/11. It’s a very traumatic day in American history, and I think that we still do owe a debt of gratitude to all the public servants who came in and helped everybody and a lot of sorrow still for the people whose lives were lost, and for the people who were deeply affected by that. And I feel like we owe everybody who sacrificed themselves to save other Americans, to create the best America that we possibly can that was willing to serve and protect all of its citizens.

“Black lives matter, and with police brutality, excessive use of force, and the deaths – it’s just really, really disturbing, and it’s not something that I want to be part of and it’s something that we all need to recognize, the systemic racism within the institutions in America, and that we need to stand up and change. Breonna Taylor was an innocent woman who was killed, and it’s great that there’s ‘Breonna’s Law’ to prevent these no-knock raids, but that’s not enough. The people who killed her need to be held accountable because until her killers are held accountable, then other people are going to think they can get away with it without being held accountable.”