Family demands release of evidence in Breonna Taylor's case

For the first time, the family of Breonna Taylor spoke out after a decision was announced in the investigation into the 26-year-old's deadly shooting.


For the first time, the family of Breonna Taylor spoke out after a decision was announced in the investigation into the 26-year-old's deadly shooting.

The much-awaited decision, made public Wednesday by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, resulted in only one of the officers involved being indicted for wanton endangerment. The three counts stem from former Louisville officer Brett Hankison's shots that went into a neighboring apartment where a family lived the night of the March raid.

Neither Hankison nor the two other officers at the center of the probe — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — were charged in Taylor's killing.

On Friday, Taylor's relatives addressed the public for the first time regarding the investigation during a news conference at Jefferson Square Park.

The family was also joined by their attorneys.

Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a statement read by a relative to a gathering in Louisville that she did not expect justice from Cameron.

“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 — and Black men," Palmer wrote in a statement that was read by a relative as she stood close by in a shirt that had “I (heart) Louisville Police” with bullet holes in the heart emoji.

In her statement, Palmer said the entire justice system had failed her, and state Attorney General Daniel Cameron was just the final person in the chain that included the officer who sought the no-knock warrant as part of a drug investigation, the judge who signed it, and the police who burst into her Louisville apartment. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

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 has also called for Cameron to release what evidence he can.

Cameron’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Kuhn, said the prosecutor understood that Taylor's family “is in an incredible amount of pain and anguish” and that the grand jury decision was not the one they wanted. But, the statement added, “prosecutors and grand jury members are bound by the facts and by the law.”

Cameron earlier reaffirmed that the lack of body camera footage made the case difficult, so his team had to use ballistic evidence, 911 calls, interviews and radio traffic.

Based on this evidence, Cameron said he and the grand jury agreed that the officers were justified in the shooting since Kenneth Walker, admittedly, fired first.

Cameron said he does not plan to release the investigative files in the Taylor probe because he said he does not want to taint Hankison's trial.

“I hope you never know the pain of your child being murdered 191 days in a row,” said Bianca Austin, reading Palmer's statement while wearing Taylor's emergency medical technician jacket.

On Friday, Cameron said through a spokesperson 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 Taylor family is now awaiting the results of an FBI investigation into whether Taylor's civil rights were violated. They're also thinking about other ways to advance racial justice amid the ongoing calls from community activists.

Taylor's case has become a rallying cry as protesters nationwide call out racism and demand police reforms.

Protesters marched through Louisville on Friday with a purple banner bearing Taylor's name. They danced and chanted, “Bow for Breonna.” Some handed out pizza or water, while others tried to register voters.

One protester, Victoria Gunther, was so outraged she traveled more than 600 miles from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Louisville.

“I’m a Black woman — that could have been me, that would have been my family,” she said. “We are disrespected and disregarded. They think we don’t matter. That’s why I’m here, to say we do matter."

The police presence was light until protesters neared the city's East Market section, a few blocks from the banks of the Ohio River. About a dozen police cruisers were parked under a highway overpass, and officers with clubs and face shields formed a semi-circle blocking protesters' path.

Police told people to move to the sidewalk. Officers deployed two flash bang rounds into the air, and the crowd moved away, authorities said in a statement. Past a nighttime curfew, people gathered at the square and then a church, where there was no major police presence — a change from the previous night.

As he marched, David Ward wore his cap that says “Desert Storm Veteran” because he wanted to send a message: he fought for America, but when he takes his hat off, he’s a Black man treated like any other in a country built on racism.

“When I put that hat on, I’m a good person, when I don’t, I’m a bad person in their eyes,” Ward said, and to him that means Black people must constantly prove their worth.

At least 24 people were arrested Thursday night — including Democratic state Rep. Attica Scott — during protests that authorities said resulted in vandalism.

The curfew in Louisville will last through the weekend, and the governor has called up the National Guard for “limited missions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.