Breonna Taylor’s mother has expressed her disapproval of how the Kentucky attorney general handled her daughter’s case and has formally requested for the case to be presented to a new grand jury by an independent prosecutor.
CNN reports that Tamika Palmer submitted a request for relief to the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council, saying that state Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s handling of the case “undermines the trust and integrity of the entire process.” Breonna Taylor was killed in her home earlier this year when three Louisville Metro Police officers opened fire during a botched no-knock raid.
In September, Cameron announced that former LMPD officer Brett Hankinson would be charged with wanton endangerment due to bullets that went into the apartment next door. None of the officers involved in the shooting were charged with Taylor’s death.
“At minimum, my daughter deserves, as do all aggrieved victims, a competent and capable prosecution team which is committed to properly investigating the case, evaluating the law from an unbiased lens, presenting the evidence and allowing the grand jurors to perform the functions guaranteed to them under the law,” Palmer wrote.
Cameron has been under scrutiny since the charges were announced, with the attorney general admitting in a September interview with WDRB that he didn’t pursue murder charges for Officers Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly. “Ultimately, our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment against Mr. Hankison,” Cameron told the news outlet.
Two anonymous members of the grand jury have since spoken up over the indictment, saying they disagreed with Cameron’s decision to only present wanton endangerment charges. They expressed frustration with the entire process during an interview with CBS News.
“They didn’t give us the charges upfront…when they gave us all of that testimony, over 20-something hours, and then to say that these are the only charges that they’re coming up with, it’s like, ‘Well, what did we just sit through?’” Juror No. 2 told CBS. The juror went on to say there was an “uproar” among the jurors when it was revealed that only the wanton endangerment charges would be filed.
“They never gave us the opportunity to deliberate on anything but the charges for Hankison. That was it,” Juror No. 2 said. “There were several more charges that could have gone forward on all of those officers or at least the 3 shooters.”
Juror No. 1 believed there was enough evidence presented to justify homicide charges against the officers. “I mean, just all of the evidence there—as we were listening to it, we were sure this was leading up to something like that,” Juror No. 1 told CBS.
Palmer is thankful that the jurors put “themselves and their freedom in jeopardy” by speaking out on the process. She added that her family “would have remained in the dark as to these lies expressed by AG Cameron,” had they not come forward. She felt Cameron was untruthful in telling her that his office had taken every course of action to indict the officers.
Palmer described the day the indictment came down, saying she drove an hour to Cameron’s office to meet with him. He told her his office was only able to obtain an indictment for Hankison, she said.
“The Attorney General advised me that the grand jury declined to indict other officers and that his team had done the best they could,” Palmer said. “AG Cameron and one of his prosecutors then advised me that I should consider finding peace through the Lord and watched as I sobbed uncontrollably.”
Palmer said she stopped and got sick on the side of the highway on her drive back to Louisville after the meeting.
Palmer went on to say that she felt Cameron “deprived” the grand jurors of the right to charge the officers for crimes related to the gunshots fired “into [Taylor’s] body and into the homes of black neighbors living above and behind her.”
Lonita Baker, Palmer’s attorney, told CNN the information provided by the jurors revealed Cameron’s process was fundamentally “flawed” and not in line with Kentucky law. “Through this process, we seek to have an independent prosecutor appointed to present a full and unbiased case to a new grand jury,” Baker said in a statement to CNN.
Cameron himself is a member of the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council, and Palmer has asked for Cameron to recuse himself from this decision.