Crime & Justice

Breonna Taylor’s family want to know why cops weren’t charged

Louisville, Kentucky, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- A lawyer representing the family of Breonna Taylor said here Friday that Kentucky’s attorney general needs to disclose what evidence was presented to the grand jury which declined to return homicide charges against any of the three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of the 26-year-old Black woman on March 13.

“Breonna Taylor’s entire family is devastated and heartbroken and confused and bewildered, just like all of us, as to what did Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron present to the grand jury,” Benjamin Crump told a press conference at Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park.

“Did he present any evidence on Breonna Taylor’s behalf, or did he make a unilateral decision to put his thumb on the scales of justice to help try to exonerate and justify the killing of Breonna Taylor by these police officers?” the lawyer said.

“There seems to be two justice systems in America: One for Black America, and one for white America,” Crump said, before leading the crowd in a chant of “release the transcripts.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, both Democrats, have likewise urged the state’s Republican attorney general to release the transcripts.

Taylor, a paramedic and aspiring nurse, was fatally shot by police who burst into her home to execute a search as a part of a narcotics investigation targeting her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.

While police said they suspected Glover had stashed drugs and cash in the apartment, the search turned up nothing, and a subsequent review determined that the search-warrant application included deliberate misrepresentations.

The grand jury charged Brett Hankison, who was fired in June for his conduct during the March 13 incident, with wanton endangerment for firing shots into apartments neighboring Taylor’s

But neither of the other two officers who discharged their weapons, Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, was charged with any offense.

Cameron, Kentucky’s first Black attorney general, said Wednesday that the police were “justified in their use of force” because they were returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, a licensed gun-owner, shot at the cops in the belief that they were intruders.

The boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, said afterward that he and Taylor were awakened by pounding on their door and that they received no reply to their repeated shouts of “who is it?”

Crump pointed out Friday that only one of 13 neighbors interviewed by investigators said they heard the three officers identify themselves as police before they broke down the door of the apartment.

Though Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was present at the press conference, she had her sister, Bianca Austin, read aloud from a statement she wrote on her daughter’s killing.

“I was reassured Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system, in the police, in the law that are not made to protect us Black and Brown people,” Palmer wrote.

“Cameron alone didn’t fail her, but it ended when the lack of investigation failed her, the officer who told a lie to obtain the search warrant failed her. The judge who signed the search warrant failed her. The terrorists who broke down her door failed her. The system as a whole has failed her,” she said.

“When I speak on it, I’m considered an angry Black woman. But know this: I am an angry Black woman. I am not angry for the reasons that you would like me to be. But angry because our Black women keep dying at the hands of police officers,” the statement said.

Louisville extended through the weekend a 9.00 pm curfew that took effect Wednesday, hours after Cameron announced the results of the grand jury.

Around 125 people have been arrested over the past two nights during street protests here, including Kentucky state Sen. Attica Scott, author of a bill, dubbed “Breonna’s Law,” that would forbid no-knock searches statewide.

Scott joined the Taylor family and their legal team for Friday’s press conference, where she challenged the Republican leadership in the state legislature to act on her proposal.

Also on hand was activist Tamika Mallory, introduced by Crump as the prime mover behind efforts in Louisville to get justice for Breonna Taylor.

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