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After DOJ meeting, Breonna Taylor’s mother says she still feels ‘trapped’ in 2020

J. Tyler Franklin

Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, met with U.S. Department of Justice officials on Monday, a day after the two-year anniversary of her daughter’s killing.

Taylor, a Black woman who was working as an emergency room technician, was 26 years old when she was killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers during a middle-of-the-night raid on her apartment in 2020. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot at plainclothes police as they attempted to ram open her door. The officers responded by firing 32 shots into the apartment, repeatedly striking her. Walker later said he believed they were intruders.

Palmer and her lawyers said they met with Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who heads the DOJ’s civil rights division, for about 45 minutes. After the meeting, Palmer said at a news conference that she refuses to give up fighting for justice for her daughter.

“For the nation, it’s been two years and one day. For me, I’m trapped in March the 13th, 2020,” she said. “I don’t know how people think I should just move on, that I should just walk away from this thing. Half my life has been spent being Breonna’s mother.”

Flanked by her lawyers and civil rights activists, Palmer said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron failed her by not pursuing criminal charges against the officers responsible for Taylor’s killing.

“So now I’m here at the Department of Justice to do the right thing, because this is bigger than Breonna,” Palmer said. “If no one addresses this issue they’ll keep kicking in our doors and murdering us.”

Ben Crump, a nationally-known civil rights lawyer and one of the attorneys representing Palmer, said the DOJ officials they met with did not provide an update on the federal investigation into Taylor’s killing. They also received no new information on a separate pattern and practice investigation into LMPD.

“They reaffirmed that they are looking under every stone and every possible civil rights violation that could have happened that led to the death of Breonna Taylor,” Crump told reporters.

Palmer’s lawyers said DOJ officials told them they are not deterred by the outcome of the recent criminal trial against Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in the raid.

Hankison, who was one of three officers that fired their gun during the raid, was charged with three counts of felony wanton endangerment. Those charges stemmed not from Taylor’s killing, but from bullets he fired that traveled into an occupied neighboring apartment.

A jury found Hankison not guilty earlier this month. 

Activists with the group Until Freedom said they planned to deliver a petition to DOJ officials on Monday with 18,000 signatures from people demanding justice for Taylor’s death. 

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