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Breonna Taylor’s mom says she “never had faith” in attorney general as family demands release of grand jury transcripts

Michigan

Kentucky (CBS) —

Breonna Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer said she “never had faith” in Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to investigate Taylor’s fatal police shooting, according to a statement read by her sister on Friday. Bianca Austin, wearing Taylor’s EMT jacket, read the statement as she stood next to an emotional Palmer at a press conference in Louisville.

Cameron’s office presented evidence to the grand jury that on Wednesday declined to indict three police officers in Taylor’s death during a March 13 police raid at her Louisville home. It instead indicted one of the officers on wanton endangerment counts for firing into a neighboring apartment. The decision drew outrage in Lousiville and renewed rallies across the country protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

Palmer said she knew Cameron “would never do his job.”

“I knew he had already chosen to be on the wrong side of the law the moment he wanted the grand jury to make the decision,” Palmer said in the statement.

palmer.jpg
Tamika Palmer, right, the mother of Breonna Taylor, listens to a news conference, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. as attorneys demand the release of grand jury transcripts in Taylor’s death.AP PHOTO/DARRON CUMMINGS

Palmer said the grand jury’s ruling reassured her of “why I have no faith in a legal system, in the police, in the laws that are not made to protect us black and brown people.”

“But when I speak on it, I’m considered an angry black woman,” Palmer said. “But know this — I am an angry black woman. I’m not angry for the reasons you would like me to be. But angry because our black women keep dying at the hands of our police officers, and black men.”

Palmer said the “system as a whole” failed her daughter.

Protesters Gather In Louisville As City Awaits Grand Jury Decision On Breonna Taylor Case
Two women hold a sign of Breonna Taylor during a rally on September 18, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky.GETTY IMAGES

Standing with Taylor’s family, lawyers and activists demanded that Cameron release the grand jury transcripts, saying there are key questions remaining about what evidence was heard and whether any of it related to Taylor’s death.

“If you did everything you could on Breonna’s behalf, you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever, Daniel Cameron, to release the transcript, so we can see you fought for all of Kentucky’s citizens, especially including Tamika Palmer’s daughter, Breonna Taylor,” said Ben Crump, a national civil rights lawyer who represents the family.

Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot six times by police in Kenosha, Wis., also addressed Cameron in an impassioned speech.

“Face this family — face the truth. Show what you did and what you did not do,” Blake Sr. said. “…Did Daniel Cameron say her name?”

Among the key lingering questions cited by Crump is whether officers who raided Taylor’s Louisville home in the early morning hours of March 13 announced they were police before battering in the door, and if they did, who heard them. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said police never announced themselves and he fired a shot in self-defense, thinking someone was trying to break in. Cameron said that because Walker’s bullet struck one of the two officers who then returned fire, killing Taylor, the officers were legally justified in their actions.

Cameron said Wednesday that one witness heard police announce themselves, but Crump told “CBS This Morning” his legal team has spoken with a dozen witnesses nearby that night who said they did not. Crump said he wants to know whether grand jurors heard from all 12 witnesses or only the witness referenced by Cameron. That witness, according to Crump and Walker’s lawyer Steven Romines, has changed his story.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, who is the former Kentucky attorney general, on Wednesday also called on Cameron to publicly release as much information as possible without impacting the three felony counts in the indictment. 

“Everyone can and should be informed, and those that are currently feeling frustrated, feeling hurt, they deserve to know more,” said Beshear.”I trust Kentuckians. They deserve to see the facts for themselves. I believe the ability to process those facts helps everybody, I believe no matter what your perspective is on today’s announcement.”

First published on September 25, 2020 / 2:04 PM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.Erin Donaghue

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Erin Donaghue reports and writes for CBSNews.com on topics including criminal justice, social justice and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @ErinDonaghue. Twitter

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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