LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The family of Breonna Taylor and their attorneys reacted Friday to the grand jury's decision not to bring homicide charges against the Louisville officers who shot and killed the 26-year-old in March.
Watch their comments below:
In a press conference led by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, he and the other lawyers called for the transcripts in the grand jury proceedings to be released.
“When we think about this grand jury proceeding, if you want us to accept the result, release the transcripts, so we can have transparency,” said Crump.
During the briefing at Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park, attorney Lonita Baker questioned whether Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron even presented the grand jury with charges on behalf of the killing of Taylor.
“Don’t tell us the grand jury made this determination, if it was your office’s determination,” said Baker.
Following the attorneys’ remarks, a family member read a statement on behalf of Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. In it, she said her daughter died because the system failed her.
“Cameron alone didn’t fail her, but it ended with a lack of investigation failing her,” said Palmer. “The officer who told a lie to obtain a search warrant failed her. The judge who signed the search warrant failed her. The terrorist who broke down her door failed her. The system as a whole has failed her.”
Palmer also said she never had faith in Cameron to begin with.
“I knew he was too inexperienced to deal with a job of this caliber,” said Palmer. “I knew he had already chosen to be on the wrong side of the law. The moment he wanted to the grand jury to make the decision, what I had hoped 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.”
Palmer was reassured Wednesday of why she has no faith in the legal system or the police that she said are not made to protect Black and brown people.
“But when I speak on it, I’m considered an angry Black woman,” said Palmer. “But know this, I am an angry Black woman. I am not angry for the reasons you would like me to be, but angry because our Black women keep dying at the hands of police officers, and Black men, angry because our children are dying at the hands of police officers, and I’m angry because this nation is learning that our Black women, dying at the hands of police officers, and this is not OK.”
Palmer said the world was robbed of a “queen” who was just starting her life.
“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 couldn’t stomach to do, a queen willing to build up anyone around her, a queen who was starting to pave her path,” she said.
Palmer ended her statement by saying that she doesn’t wish the pain she’s suffering on anyone else.
“I hope you never know the pain of your child being murdered 191 days in a row,” she said.
The attorney general's office issued the following statement in response to the comments from Taylor's family and their attorneys:
"Attorney General Daniel Cameron understands that the family of Ms. Breonna Taylor is in an incredible amount of pain and anguish, and he also understands that the outcome of the Grand Jury proceedings was not what they had hoped. Regarding today’s statements at the press conference, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but prosecutors and Grand Jury members are bound by the facts and by the law. Attorney-General Cameron is committed to doing everything he can to ensure the integrity of the prosecution before him and continue fulfilling his ethical obligations both as a prosecutor and as a partner in the ongoing federal investigation."
On Wednesday, the Kentucky grand jury indicted one of the three Louisville police officers who entered Taylor's apartment in March and fatally shot the emergency medical technician. However, the indicted officer isn’t being charged in connection with Taylor’s killing, he’s being charged with wanton endangerment for shots fired into her neighbor’s apartment.
After the grand jury's charging decision was announced, Cameron held a press conference, during which he said the officers who shot Taylor were "justified" in their actions because they were responding to a shot fired by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who has said that he believed the police were intruders.
Authorities say the officers were responding to the apartment in relation to narcotics investigation. The New York Times reports the department received court approval for a “no-knock” entry, but the order was changed before the raid to “knock and announce.” Cameron said Wednesday that the officers did announce themselves before entering and cited one neighbor who cooperated that.
Since the charging decision was revealed, protesters have taken to the streets of Louisville and other cities across the nation, demanding justice in the case. During Friday’s press conference, the activists said they won’t stop until the officers involved in the fatal shooting have been charged.