Six Months In, The Wait For Justice For Breonna Taylor Continues

Sep 14, 2020

Credit WFPL

A few dozen cyclists rode their bikes from downtown’s Jefferson Square Park to Breonna Taylor‘s apartment Sunday, and as they got closer, Carlos Fish said he felt “an energy.”

“I’m not sure what it is, but you feel something radiating from this place,” said Fish, who rode with the group to Taylor’s apartment, six months after plain-clothes Louisville Metro Police officers shot and killed the 26-year-old Black woman and emergency room technician there.

The area outside her door has been adorned with flowers, signs and candles since her death.

“We all feel that,” Fish said, looking around at the other cyclists. “And maybe it’s teaching us something… it has meaning here.”

People have said Taylor’s name while protesting in the streets of Louisville and other cities across the country for more than 100 days, waiting anxiously for an announcement from the state’s attorney general office and the FBI regarding their investigations into Taylor’s death. 

Rumors spread last week that Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented the case to a grand jury recently. But Cameron sidestepped with a statement on Tuesday that said, “the rumors do nothing to advance justice” and “an investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a specific timeline.”

The latter is an explanation Cameron has repeated numerous times the past few months as to why the investigation is taking so long. But Fish isn’t buying that.

“I think he’s just stalling,” Fish said, explaining that he believes Cameron fears the reaction when he does make the announcement.

Fish said what’s made the whole terrible situation even worse is what he sees as Louisville Metro Police’s attempt to justify what happened that night.

Recently leaked reports from LMPD have alleged ties between Taylor and drug trafficking, drawing ire from many, who say the police are trying to stain Taylor’s name and life. 

Cyclist Nicole Williams, who co-organized Sunday’s Say Her Name Bike Ride, said she believes Cameron is “unfit for his job.” She doesn’t understand how he was able to make time to speak at last month’s Republic National Convention and recently landed on President Donald Trump’s shortlist for possible U.S. Supreme Court candidates, yet hasn’t concluded the investigation into Taylor’s death.

“Shameful that it’s been six months,” she said, adding that they didn’t realize the significance of the date until after they had planned Sunday’s ride. “When we say, ‘defund the police,’ it’s breaking the institution down to the brass tacks because something y’all did was wrong and it goes deep.”

And that’s partially why she and her colleagues have been organizing these regular protest bike rides, which they’ve now led more than a handful of, to make sure that their cries for justice are heard all over the city.

“We can cover way more ground,” she said.

Mounting Pressure

As the days, weeks and months go on, and decisions loom from Cameron’s office and the FBI, pressure continues to mount on Louisville and Kentucky officials.

In an interview on Friday with more than a dozen local live streamers, Sam Aguiar, one of the attorneys on the legal team representing Taylor’s family, said when they met with Cameron approximately a month ago, he saw “some goodness in him.”

“He alluded to that fact that he’d be nowhere without his mother, so I hope he’s thinking about that right now and what Tamika Palmer [Taylor’s mother] is going through and how important his decision is going to be for her, for us, for the country, and that any political agenda is put aside,” Aguiar said. “I hope he’s capable of that.”

He went on to say they’re uneasy right now, as they wait: “We’re all nervous,” he said, adding that he believes this was a “bad warrant” issued on “bad intelligence,” and “those officers shouldn’t have been there.”

Also on Friday, Palmer shared an impassioned post on Instagram, addressing it to Cameron. 

“It’s crunch time and we’re putting our faith and trust in you,” she wrote. “Your mother put everything she had into raising you… If she had the power to make sure this type of injustice would never happen without accountability and consequences, would she make sure of it?”

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’ tweeted Saturday, urging people to call Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Cameron to demand justice for Taylor. 

There have also been demands that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fire the officers involved in Taylor’s death while everyone continues to wait for news on the investigations. But, last week, Fischer’s communications director, Jean Porter, told WFPL the mayor believes “it’s important that we wait for the attorney general’s announcement before deciding next steps.”

As of early Sunday, more than 11.1 million people had signed a Change.org petition demanding that any LMPD officers involved in Taylor’s death be fired and charges be filed against them, that no-knock warrants be banned federally, that Taylor’s family be compensated for damages, and that Beshear or Cameron appoint a special prosecutor to investigate LMPD. 

Loralei HoJay, who has said she’s a law student in New York, started the petition and, with Change.org, created two 30-second television ads expected to air Sunday night during the Dallas Cowboys versus Los Angeles Rams game on NBC, according to a press release.

“Almost 70,000 calls have been made to Kentucky lawmakers, and they refuse to respond directly to the petition’s 11 million signers,” HoJay said in the release. “We hope Sunday’s ads show lawmakers that we will not stop until those who killed Breonna Taylor are held accountable, and her family receives justice.”

The commercials feature co-signers of the petition, which Change.org said “is the second largest in Change.org history,” second to the George Floyd petition, which has more than 19 million signatures.