The family of Breonna Taylor, the Black woman fatally shot by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March, are “heartbroken” and “devastated” by a grand jury’s decision not to file manslaughter or murder charges against the officers involved, their attorney Ben Crump said Friday.
“The system as a whole has failed her,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a statement read aloud by Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt.
“You didn’t just rob me of my daughter,” Palmer’s statement said. “You robbed the world of a queen.”
The grand jury indicted former Louisville police Officer Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing shots into neighboring apartments, but not into Taylor’s.
Crump and Lonita Baker, another attorney for the family, demanded that officials release a transcript of the grand jury hearing, expressing doubt about the evidence that was presented.
None of the three officers involved in the shooting were charged with manslaughter or murder, as Taylor’s family and anti-racism protesters nationwide have demanded.
“Sister, you was failed by a system you worked hard for and i am so sorry,” Taylor’s sister, Juniyah Palmer, posted on Instagram. “I love you so so so so so much.”
Crump called the lack of murder charges against Hankison “outrageous and offensive.”
“If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too,” Crump tweeted on Wednesday. “In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!”
In the early hours of March 13, officers fatally shot Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, in her own apartment. The officers, who used a battering ram to enter Taylor’s home, had a “no-knock” warrant because they believed a suspect in a drug ring ― who did not live there ― was having packages delivered to Taylor’s home. The individual allegedly involved in the ring had actually been arrested earlier that day, which police acknowledged after the fact.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 when the officers burst in. He shot at them in self-defense, striking one officer in the femoral artery. The officers responded by firing at least six shots, killing Taylor in the hallway.
“I don’t know what is happening,” Walker can be heard saying in his frantic 911 call. “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
Police have said the officers knocked several times and identified themselves before entering. Walker has said he and Taylor heard loud banging at the door but that nobody identified themselves. None of the officers were wearing body cameras.
During a press conference Wednesday to announce the indictment, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, said he’d spoken to Taylor’s family about the grand jury’s decision earlier that day.
“Every day this family wakes up to the realization that someone they loved is no longer with them,” Cameron said. “There’s nothing I can offer today to take away the grief and heartache this family is experiencing as a result of losing a child, a niece, a sister and a friend.”
In the statement read by Austin on Friday, Taylor’s mother said she “never had faith in Daniel Cameron to begin with.”
The city of Louisville settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Taylor’s family last week. The city agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family and institute sweeping police reforms as part of the historic settlement.
Sara Boboltz and Paige Lavender contributed to this report.
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