Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

A Step Towards Justice For Breonna Taylor?

While there have been a multitude of events in which minority Americans have found themselves on the wrong end with police that spurred the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, a few have especially had an impact. Most will note the murder in February of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia and in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis as especially heinous moments.

Each of those incidents resulted in criminal charges, to the father and son who shot and murdered Arbery, and to the police officer’s involved in Floyd’s death. But there has been another case that has drawn attention worldwide for the lack of punishment, until yesterday.

On Tuesday, the city of Louisville, Kentucky announced it had reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family, part of a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. It’s the largest payout by the city and tops the previous high of $8.5 million for the wrongful conviction of Edwin Chandler. That conviction took place in 1993, for which Chandler served nine years in prison.

The settlement by no means signals justice for the ongoing racial inequality in the U.S. But it’s arguably a start. And it’s an event that has garnered plenty of attention worldwide.

To get a handle on the social media chatter, we enlisted the help of the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center and Social Studio. While this is certainly not an exhaustive search, the terms “breonna” and “taylor” were entered into a new topic profile.

Honestly, I suspected there would be more chatter with just this simple search, which reported more than 680,000 posts over the previous seven days. This is arguably one of the searches in which I was especially intrigued to know the words being associated with a search. By leaving the search broad, with only Taylor’s name, the hope is to see which direction the conversation is headed, including from a word cloud. That result, as of 3 p.m. on Sept. 16, is below:

While the word cloud provides a glimpse of the conversation, it’s more difficult to see exactly who’s driving that conversation. According to the search results, there are 41 accounts that received an influencer score of 98, including media organizations like CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, and The New York Times. Each of these has contributed to the conversation through their own posts, likes and retweets.

The other indicator of the conversation comes from a sentiment score and in this case, Social Studio reports that conversations around “Breonna Taylor” are 81.7 percent negative. There are many ways to interpret this, however. This could mean that people don’t like the settlement, that people do not believe it is enough, that they don’t like something they associate with the Taylor case, the list simply goes on. Below is a tweet that frequently showed up in the analysis:

This example illustrates the mindset that the settlement is significant, but not enough. And this is a great example of something that could show up as negative sentiment, with words like ‘wrongful’ and ‘no real justice.’

The settlement is nowhere near the end of the fight for racial equality. And while some consider it a step towards that, not all do, as this social media analysis shows. We’ll continue to monitor this and other notable events through our team in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.