Breonna Taylor’s family on Friday demanded that authorities in the US state of Kentucky release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury hearings that led to no charges against police officers who killed the Black woman during a March drug raid at her apartment.
As Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, stood close by in a shirt that had “I (heart) Louisville Police” with bullet holes in the heart emoji, Taylor’s lawyers said they have seen the evidence, and there is much state Attorney General Daniel Cameron got wrong. They did not give specifics.
Taylor’s aunt read a statement on behalf of Palmer, saying the entire justice system failed her and Cameron was just the final person in the chain that included the officer who sought the no-knock warrant, the judge who signed it, and the police who burst into Taylor’s Louisville apartment.
The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
Breonna Taylor’s family’s lawyer Ben Crump speaks during a news conference, in Louisville, Kentucky [Darron Cummings/AP]“I hope you never know the pain of your child being murdered 191 days in a row,” said Bianca Austin, reading the statement while wearing her niece’s emergency medical technician jacket.
Palmer wore a mask with “Black Queen” on it and in her statement said the justice system “didn’t just rob me and my family – you robbed the world of a queen.”
Taylor was shot multiple times by white officers after her boyfriend fired at them, authorities said. Her boyfriend said he did not know who was coming in and opened fire in self-defence, wounding one officer. Cameron said the officers were not charged with Taylor’s killing because they acted to protect themselves.
Taylor’s case has become a rallying cry for protesters nationwide calling attention to entrenched anti-Black racism and demanding police reforms.
I hope you never know the pain of your child being murdered 191 days in a row
Statement by Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer
Taylor’s family was gathered on Friday in front of a mural of Taylor in a downtown Louisville park that protesters are now calling “Injustice Square”.
A lawyer for the family, Sam Aguiar, said since Cameron is done with his investigation, all the videos should be released, noting that he has seen dozens in full, most of which are not public.
Cameron “got so much wrong. We’ve seen so much piecemeal stuff come out throughout the case”, Aguiar said.
Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has also called on Cameron to release what evidence he can.
Protesters pledged to stay in the streets until someone is charged with Taylor’s killing. The grand jury indicted one officer for wanton endangerment after authorities said he shot into a neighbouring apartment but did not strike anyone. He has been fired.
Taylor has become a symbol at countrywide protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism in the US [File: Bryan Woolston/Reuters]On Friday, Cameron said through a spokesperson that he understood Taylor’s family’s pain.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but prosecutors and Grand Jury members are bound by the facts and by the law,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said in a statement.
The FBI is still investigating whether police violated Taylor’s civil rights. But the burden of proof for such cases is very high, with prosecutors having to prove officers knew they were acting illegally and made a willful decision to cause someone’s death.
Demonstrations calling for justice for Taylor have continued after the grand jury findings were released.
At least 24 people were arrested in the Louisville protests Thursday night, including state Representative Attica Scott, a Louisville Democrat. Scott said she was detained minutes before a curfew started while headed towards a church that protesters were congregating in.
She stayed in jail overnight and was released on Friday.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks to the media after the return of a grand jury investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor [Timothy D Easley/AP]Scott unveiled legislation recently that would ban the use of no-knock search warrants in Kentucky. The measure, called Breonna’s Law, also would require drug and alcohol testing of officers involving in shootings and deadly incidents and requires body cameras to be worn during the execution of all search warrants.
The curfew in Louisville will continue through the weekend, and the governor called up the National Guard for “limited missions”.
Police eventually pulled back late Thursday after negotiating with demonstrators to end the protest.