Breonna Taylor’s mother is accusing the Kentucky attorney general of abusing the grand jury system and wants a new prosecutor who is “committed to properly investigating the case.”
“Grand jurors did not believe officers were justified in killing my daughter, yet A.G. Cameron denied them of their right to render a decision reflecting the same,” Tamika Palmer wrote in a letter to the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council on Wednesday.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed in March when three White police officers attempted to serve a narcotics warrant at her home.
After the officers knocked down her door, her boyfriend fired a shot at them, fearing an intruder. The officers returned fire, hitting Taylor five times and killing her. No drugs were found.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced last month that the grand jury indicted only one officer, Brett Hankison, on three counts of wanton endangerment related to shots he fired into a neighboring home. He said the “grand jury agreed” that the officers were justified in firing the shots that killed Taylor because her boyfriend shot at them first.
Cameron’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Two of the grand jurors disputed Cameron’s assessment publicly this week, however. The jurors, who are remaining anonymous for their safety, told CBS that they thought the officers’ actions were “negligent” and “criminal,” but Cameron never allowed them to consider manslaughter or murder charges.
“They never gave us the opportunity to deliberate on anything but the charges for Hankison. That was it,” one of the jurors told Gayle King. “As a matter of fact, when they announced that those were the only charges, there was an uproar in that room. There were several more charges that could have gone forward on all of those officers.”
Palmer called Cameron’s characterization of the grand jury decision “flat out lies” in her letter Wednesday.
“At a 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,” she wrote.
Cameron has defended himself against mounting criticism, saying he stands by the findings.
“The tragedy, and I’ve said this from the beginning, was that Breonna Taylor was in that hallway next to Kenneth Walker when they returned fire and they hit her,” he told Fox News earlier this month. “No one disputes that this is a tragedy, but sometimes our criminal law is inadequate to respond to a tragedy.”
Taylor’s death set off a wave of nationwide protests against police brutality.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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