Sat, 31 Oct 2020

Attorney, Family Say US Justice System Failed Breonna Taylor

Voice of America
26 Sep 2020, 05:35 GMT+10

The attorney for Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker who was killed by white police officers last March in Kentucky as they carried out a botched drug raid, said Friday that a grand jury's decision not to bring homicide charges against the officers was an example of systemic racism that persists in America.

"There seems to be two justice systems in America, one for Black America and one for white America," said Benjamin Crump at a news conference in Louisville. "It underscores what we've been saying all along."

Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, also denounced the grand jury's decision, saying in a statement the decision underscored "why I have no faith in the legal system. The police and law were not made to protect us Black and brown women."

Palmer said she "knew" Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron "would never do his job" and added, "The system as a whole has failed Breonna."

Taylor's family and Crump repeated a call for Cameron to release a transcript of the grand jury proceedings.

McConnell defends probe

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky defended the investigation in a speech Thursday on the Senate floor, saying Cameron "conducted exactly the kind of thorough, impartial investigation that justice demands." He called protests in Louisville in which two police officers were shot "more evidence of the lawlessness, riots and violence that has plagued American cities too often this year."

Crump tweeted earlier Friday that he was hopeful a federal investigation into Taylor's killing would produce charges against the officers. "We hope the FBI investigation finally gets justice for Bre and her family," he said in reference to Breonna.

The news conference was held hours after protests erupted for a second night Thursday in Louisville in response to the grand jury's decision. Some protesters smashed windows, and police said at least 24 people were arrested.

More than a hundred protesters took refuge in the First Unitarian Church after the start of a nighttime curfew.

Earlier Thursday, there were some tense moments when a group of armed white people confronted the protesters, but no shots were fired.

'No easy answer'

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said at a news conference Thursday, "What do we do with this pain?" The mayor added that there is "no easy answer to that question."

Taylor was killed when police entered her apartment on a "no-knock" drug raid, authorized to allow police to burst into a dwelling without warning to keep evidence from being destroyed. No drugs were found in Taylor's apartment.

However, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday that a neighbor of Taylor's heard police announce their presence before entering Taylor's apartment and that their entry was not deemed a "no-knock" raid.

Cameron said the officers "were justified in their use of force" after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said he heard no announcement by the police, opened fire at them first when they entered the apartment, thinking they were intruders.

Attention is being focused on Taylor's shooting and other cases following the death earlier this year of George Floyd, a Black man, after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into Floyd's neck. Floyd's death sparked protests around the world about social injustice.

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