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‘Would You Kill God Too?’ W.J. Lofton’s New Poem, Commissioned by Ava DuVernay, Puts a Spotlight on Breonna Taylor’s Killers

January 31, 2021
January 31, 2021

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay counts herself as one of the many people inspired by W.J. Lofton’s powerful visual poem “We Ask For Fire”—in which he repeats the words, “the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor are at home with their families”—as protesters around the world demanded justice following her death last March.

“I was deeply moved,” DuVernay tells TIME. “The idea that one artist was able to unite a very striking written voice with a visual voice—a marriage of the vocabulary it takes to be potent in both forms—was very interesting to me.”

DuVernay has now commissioned Lofton, 28, to create another visual poem for her Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), which she started in the days after George Floyd’s murder last May in Minneapolis, and aims to call attention to police brutality as well as the code of silence that exists around it. The resulting work, “Would You Kill God Too?,” debuts Sunday. In the poem, Lofton asks a series of questions to three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove—who conducted a “no knock” warrant raid on Taylor’s apartment late at night on March 13, 2020. During the raid, the officers fired more than thirty shots into her residence, killing her.

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