Breonna Taylor’s family condemn Louisville police: ‘We are never safe’

Breonna Taylor’s family condemn Louisville police: ‘We are never safe’
Breonna Taylor’s family spoke out for the first time since a grand jury in Kentucky announced that it had decided not to charge three police officers directly in the killing of the 26-year-old medical worker in March.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, on Friday attended a press conference at a downtown Louisville park that has become a focus for protests and a makeshift memorial to Taylor, who was shot dead in her apartment after police barged in and fired a hail of bullets during a botched investigation.

When Palmer wept and was too upset to speak, Bianca Austin, Palmer’s sister and Taylor’s aunt, read a statement written by Palmer.

“Know this: I am an angry Black woman,” Palmer’s statement read. “Angry because our Black women keep dying at the hands of police officers … you robbed the world of a queen.”

Demonstrators in Louisville gathered on Friday for a third night of protests. A march stretching for about a block along a downtown street began hours before a 9pm curfew was to start. Palmer and other family members walked at the head.

Police lined up at an underpass blocked the march’s route and warned demonstrators they could face arrest for unlawful assembly. Many marchers turned around after encountering the police with riot gear blocking their way. Officers deployed two flash-bang rounds into the air, and the crowd moved away, police said in a statement.

Protests also took place in several other US cities, including Boston and New York City.

Taylor’s family on Friday had heavily criticized Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general, who was in charge of the state’s investigation into Taylor’s death.

“I never had faith in Daniel Cameron to begin with, I knew he was too inexperienced with a job of this caliber. I knew he chose to be at the wrong side of the law,” Palmer said in the statement that was read.

“My hope was 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. What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them. That we are never safe,” she said.

Other members of Taylor’s family, including her sister and grandfather, were also at the press conference at Jefferson Square Park, wearing masks and clothes emblazoned with Taylor’s name. Austin was wearing one of the jackets Taylor wore as an emergency room technician.


Third night of Breonna Taylor protests after officers not charged – video

“You didn’t just rob me and my family, you robbed the world of a queen. A queen willing to do a job that most of us wouldn’t have the stomach to do. A queen willing to build up anyone around her. A queen who was starting to pave her path,” Austin read.

Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency room technician, was killed when three white police officers entered her apartment in the early hours of 13 March.

A grand jury, a citizen body appointed by the authorities in the US to decide in some investigations whether criminal charges should be brought, in Louisville determined that the three officers who fired their weapons in Taylor’s home should not be charged directly for Taylor’s death.

One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for blindly shooting from outside Taylor’s apartment, with bullets penetrating the homes of Taylor’s neighbors.

All three officers opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought intruders were breaking into the apartment and reached for his gun, firing one shot and injuring one of the officers.

Speaking with Taylor’s family on Friday, the civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump demanded that the attorney general release more information on the evidence presented to the grand jury and transcripts from the grand jury’s proceedings.

“Did he present any evidence on Breonna Taylor’s behalf? Or did he make a unilateral decision to put his thumb on the scale of justice to help try to exonerate and justify the killing of Breonna Taylor?” Crump said as Taylor’s mother closed her eyes and shook her head.

“It’s like they charge the police for bullets that miss Black bodies but not charging the police for shooting bullets into Black bodies,” he said.

A main point of dispute is whether the police announced themselves when they entered Taylor’s apartment. Walker, said they did not announce themselves. He was not shot but Taylor, who had been in bed prior to the officers arriving, was hit with at least five bullets.

Cameron on Wednesday said a public witness and police said they announced themselves, while other neighbors in the apartment complex said they did not hear the police knocking and declaring themselves.

The attorney general declined to discuss certain details of the case, saying he did not want to compromise other investigations in Taylor’s death. He said he was heartbroken, as a Black man himself, and called Taylor’s death a tragedy.

Cameron has been hailed as a rising star by Donald Trump and spoke at the Republican national convention in August.

The reckoning the country experienced after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was renewed after the grand jury’s decision was announced on Wednesday.

Almost immediately after the announcement, protesters in Louisville began marching and chanting, decrying the decision. Local officials shut down much of the downtown area for the entire week and implementing a 9pm to 6.30am curfew that will continue until Monday morning.

While the protests in Louisville have been largely peaceful, two police officers were shot and injured on Wednesday amid a clash with protesters.

Other cities around the country also experienced protests on Wednesday against the decision, with marchers in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and other cities chanting “Say her name! Breonna Taylor!”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

  • This article was amended on 25 September 2020 to correct Breonna Taylor’s age.

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