Breonna Taylor’s family attorney is ‘not giving up’ on murder or manslaughter charges for officers involved

Breonna Taylor’s family says they’re heartbroken and outraged following the Kentucky attorney general’s announcement that no officers are being charged directly in the killing of the 26-year-old aspiring nurse.

“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,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, wrote in a letter that was read out loud in a news conference Friday.

Wednesday’s announcement sparked public outrage and reignited protests in Louisville and across the country. Before that, crowds gathered for months in Louisville to call for the arrests of the three officers involved.

But the investigations in Taylor’s case are far from over, and family attorneys say they’re not giving up hopes for justice.

The FBI announced in May it was investigating the circumstances surrounding Taylor’s death and said this week that work continued “beyond the state charges announced.” The agency has previously said it is taking a “fresh look” at all the evidence and interviewing witnesses as well as examining all the evidence.

Family attorney Ben Crump says he hopes the federal investigation “finally gets justice for Bre and her family.”

His statement has been echoed by family attorney Lonita Baker, who also says she hasn’t given up on state charges.

“We do hope there are federal civil rights violation charges brought as well. But again, we’re not giving up on state level manslaughter or murder charges in the case of Breonna Taylor,” Baker said. “We think they’re warranted here, there’s sufficient probable cause.”

Ongoing demonstrations

Protesters across the US have also echoed continued calls for justice following Wednesday’s announcement.

Friday marked the third night of demonstrations in Louisville since the attorney general’s announcement, and Taylor’s family members — including her mother — joined the evening protest.

As Palmer walked with the crowd, Taylor’s aunt and several other women held a banner at the front of the march bearing the words “Justice for Breonna.”

At least 23 people were arrested Friday, according to Louisville Metro Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Lamont Washington. On Thursday, among two dozen people arrested during the demonstrations was Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott, the state’s only Black female legislator.

Protests continued Friday in cities including Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta.

“We’re just demanding that police have more accountability,” Qri Montague, co-chair of the People’s Uprising, who helped organize a rally in Atlanta Friday, told CNN affiliate WSB.

In Oakland, California, multiple people were arrested for assaulting police officers Friday night, the Oakland Police Department said on Twitter.

The department said more than 250 people participated in the protest, adding “the group was immediately violent throwing bottles & cans at officers.” OPD said it responded by deploying “minimal smoke.”

There were no reports of damage to businesses, according to police.

Calls for grand jury transcripts to be released

Crump, the family attorney, has called on the Kentucky attorney general to release the proceeding transcripts of the grand jury, whose proceedings led to no charges directly in Taylor’s death, more than six months after police shot her in her home while executing a search warrant. The grand jury did indict then-Detective Brett Hankison on three first-degree wanton endangerment charges, accusing him of blindly firing shots that went through Taylor’s home and penetrated the walls of a neighbor’s apartment, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.

There is “no conclusive evidence” any of those bullets hit Taylor, Cameron said.

Crump said he and Taylor’s family were confused as to what Cameron presented to the grand jury.

“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) by these police officers?” Crump said.

On Friday night, Baker also called on the attorney general to be “straight forward,” saying he “dodged” questions during his news conference earlier this week on whether he presented charges in connection to Taylor’s killing.

“Or did his office make the unilateral decision not to charge these officers with anything related to Breonna Taylor?” Baker said.

“Because that’s two different things, and if it did not go before grand jury, that’s a true travesty of justice and we would demand that a special prosecutor be appointed in that case.”

What led to Taylor’s death

In March, Hankison, Sgt. John Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove executed a search warrant on Taylor’s home amid a months-long investigation that focused on her ex-boyfriend — who was not at Taylor’s apartment.

He later told a Kentucky newspaper police used misleading and wrong information to obtain that warrant.

When officers arrived at the apartment, Taylor was sleeping next to her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III. He told investigators they both heard a noise and got up and walked to the door, where police forced entry into the home.

Walker said he fired one shot. Mattingly was shot in the leg, the attorney general said Wednesday.

Hankison was accused by his own department of blindly firing 10 bullets into Taylor’s apartment from an outdoor patio. He was fired in June, the Louisville police chief said, and is appealing his termination.

Cameron said the officers were “justified in their use of force” because Taylor’s boyfriend fired first.

Walker was unharmed but Taylor was shot multiple times and died in the shooting.

No drugs were found in the apartment and there is no police body camera footage of the incident.

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