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'I have no faith in the legal system.' Breonna Taylor's mother, attorneys gather in emotional protest

By Kurtis Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a somber and at times rousing gathering on Friday, family members of Breonna Taylor, as well as their attorneys, castigated a legal justice system in which no criminal charges will be brought against police for shooting and killing the 26-year-old Black woman inside her own apartment six months ago.

"What kind of sham grand jury proceeding was this?" Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney, said from a park in downtown Louisville, which has been the main staging area for protesters here.

Crump, flanked by Taylor's mother, called on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to make public all documents pertaining to the investigation of what happened March 13, when Louisville police officers stormed into Taylor's apartment with a "no knock" warrant, firing multiple times after her boyfriend, who did not know who was entering the home, shot and wounded one of the officers.

"Say her name!" Crump yelled.

"Breonna Taylor!" protesters shouted back, their voices echoing off the canyon of buildings surrounding the park.

Crump, calling Taylor's death a form of "police terrorism," predicted that the city would continue to see unrest in the months ahead. Both Crump and another family attorney, Lonita Baker, have said a special investigator needs to be appointed to assess the case.

Bianca Austin, Taylor's aunt, read a statement on behalf of Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, who was too emotional to speak.

"I was reassured Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system," the statement said. "The police and law were not made to protect us Black and brown women. I knew Daniel Cameron would never do his job. The system as a whole has failed Breonna."

Earlier this week, Cameron announced that police officers would not be charged in Taylor's death, spawning protests in Louisville and elsewhere in the country.

 

For more than 100 days, protesters have gathered here in Jefferson Square Park demanding justice for Taylor.

On Friday, streets around the downtown area remained barricaded and businesses shuttered. A 9 p.m. curfew remains in effect throughout the weekend.

The protests have thus far been mainly peaceful, with small marches across the city during the daytime hours. At nightfall, some protesters have pushed back on the curfew, leading to tensions with police.

On Wednesday night, following the grand jury announcement, two police officers were shot. One of the officers has since been released from the hospital; the other is in stable condition. Larynzo Johnson, 26, has been charged in the shootings.

At the news conference on Friday, Crump, who has represented dozens of families of unarmed Black people killed by police across the nation, was joined by several of those relatives.

Michael Brown Sr., whose son, Michael Brown, was killed in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, stood near Taylor's mother. So did Jacob Blake Sr., whose son, Jacob, was shot by police multiple times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last month, leading to unrest nationwide. Jacob Blake survived, but he remains unable to walk.

"I had to be here with this fraternity," Blake said. "We did not choose this fraternity, this fraternity chose us."

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