Breonna Taylor’s family and their lawyers sharply criticized Kentucky’s attorney general for the failure to bring charges against police officers in her death, calling Friday for him to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceeding while vowing to continue their protests until the officers are charged.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a statement read by a relative to a gathering in Louisville, Ky., that she did not expect justice from Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, urged the prosecutor to make the transcripts public, so people can see if anyone was present at the grand jury proceedings to give a voice to Taylor. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, has also called for Cameron to release what evidence he can.
Taylor, a Black woman who was an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers after her boyfriend fired at them, authorities said. He said he didn’t know who was coming in and opened fire in self-defence, wounding one officer. Police entered on a warrant connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
Cameron said Wednesday that the investigation showed officers acted in self-defence. The grand jury brought three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into Taylor’s neighbour’s home.
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Protests have taken place locally since Taylor’s shooting death in March, growing nationally after the police shooting death of George Floyd in Minneapolis occurred in May.
The FBI is still investigating whether Taylor’s civil rights were violated. 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.
City settled civil suit
Since Taylor’s killing, Louisville has taken some steps to address protesters’ concerns. In addition to the officer who was fired and later charged, three others were put on desk duty. Officials have banned no-knock warrants and hired a Black woman as the permanent police chief — a first for the city.
Louisville also agreed to more police reforms as it settled a lawsuit that included $12 million for Taylor’s family. But many have expressed frustration that more has not been done.
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Meanwhile, a not guilty plea was entered Friday morning for a man charged with shooting and wounding two police officers in Louisville during protests over Taylor’s death.
Larynzo Johnson, 26, appeared in an orange jumpsuit Friday morning and only spoke when the judge asked if he understood the charges. He replied that he did.
Bond was set at $1 million US, and the judge appointed a public defender to represent Johnson at his next court date set for Oct. 5.
According to police, at least 24 people were arrested as of 1 a.m. Friday in a second night of protests after Cameron made the announcement. Authorities alleged the protesters broke windows at a restaurant, damaged city buses, tried to set a fire and threw a flare into the street.
Earlier, it got heated between some protesters and a group of 12 to 15 armed white people wearing military-style uniforms, but it didn’t turn physical.
A curfew will last through the weekend, and the governor called up the National Guard for “limited missions.”