‘I Have No Faith In The Legal System,’ Breonna Taylor’s Mother Says


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Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, says the justice system failed her daughter, an emergency room technician who was shot and killed by police in her own apartment in March. Palmer released a statement through her sister Friday, after a grand jury declined to level any charges directly related to Taylor’s death. Palmer is seen here in August, speaking outside Louisville City Hall.

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It was the family’s first public address since a grand jury declined to level any charges directly related to Taylor’s death. As Austin spoke, she wore her niece’s work jacket, with Taylor’s name on the chest.

When Austin spoke on Palmer’s behalf, she did so alongside Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wis., in August.

«This has been emotionally, mentally and physically draining for my sister,» Austin said, calling the past six months «a wild roller coaster» for a family that has lost not only a beloved young woman to police gunfire, but other members to causes such as cancer, COVID-19 and violence.

Hours before the grand jury’s indictment was announced on Wednesday, Palmer posted an image to her Instagram account promising, «Dear Breonna, Justice is coming.»

Palmer says that the attorney general failed in his handling of the case.

«What I had hoped is that he knew he had the power to do the right thing, that he had the power to start the healing of this city, that he had the power to help mend over 400 years of oppression,» Austin said, reading Palmer’s statement.

«What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them, that we are never safe when it comes to them.»

While Hankinson has been indicted, no action has been taken against Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, both of whom also opened fire that night. An FBI analysis concluded Cosgrove fired the shots that killed Taylor, Cameron said on Wednesday.

Cameron said his office determined that Mattingly and Cosgrove «were justified in their use of force,» because they had first been fired upon by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But Benjamin Crump, one of the family’s attorneys, notes that Walker has said he was acting in self-defense.

No one has been charged for firing the bullets that struck and killed Taylor. In Crump’s interpretation, the indictment punishes one officer for missing a Black body — but it forgives others for shooting Taylor.

«If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna,» Crump said in an interview with NBC’s Today show.

Crump reiterated his call for Cameron to release transcripts from the grand jury proceedings related to the case.

When Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was asked about the potential release of records related to the investigation on Thursday, he said the city is working with the attorney general and the FBI, «to understand what we can release so it doesn’t interfere with any of the ongoing investigations» into Taylor’s death.

«What we want to do is get as much of this information out as soon as we can,» Fischer said. «There does need to be some redaction of names to protect individuals’ identities in some of these cases. So that process has started and we hope to be able to announce further information on that soon.»

«Release the transcript,» Crump said repeatedly on Friday, prompting Taylor’s supporters to begin chanting the demand. Later, Crump led another chant: «Enough is enough, America.»

Louisville has now seen 120 days of protests over Taylor’s death – and the limited indictment set off new demonstrations and street marches. Police arrested 127 people Wednesday night, the most since protests began. More arrests came Thursday, including state Rep. Attica Scott, her daughter Ashanti and 22 other protesters, member station WFPL reports.

Scott, who is the only Black woman serving in Kentucky’s legislature, was arrested as police were surrounding the First Unitarian Church on Fourth Street, the station says.

The church had opened to offer sanctuary to protesters. Houses of worship are exempt from the city’s curfew rules that were announced this week, although the rule states that they’re able to be open after curfew «for services.»

Louisville will remain under a nighttime curfew through the weekend, after the mayor extended that restriction on Thursday. It runs from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. the following morning.

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