LOUISVILLE, Ky. (NewsNation Now) — The family and attorneys of Breonna Taylor called for Kentucky authorities release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury hearings Friday morning, while the mayor and police chief called for safe and peaceful protesting during an afternoon briefing.
Taylor’s family and their lawyers sharply criticized Kentucky’s attorney general for the failure to bring charges against police officers in her death, calling for him to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceeding while vowing to continue their protests until the officers are charged.
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, urged for the release of transcripts saying they should be released so people can know if there was anyone who gave a voice to Taylor.
On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury considering the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, in her home voted to indict one of three white police officers for wanton endangerment.
The officer indicted was Detective Brett Hankison, who faces up to five years in prison if convicted, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a news conference.
A statement from Breonna Taylor’s mother says her daughter was failed by a lack of investigation into her fatal shooting by Louisville police officers in March.
The statement was read by her sister at the Friday news conference which said Tamika Palmer did not expect justice from Cameron.
Crump tweeted that the lack of charges directly related to Breonna Taylor’s death is “outrageous and offensive.” Adding in another tweet that “we must know what evidence was presented to the grand jury. We need transparency.”
Attorney general spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn provided a statement to NewsNation Friday:
“Attorney General Cameron understands that the family of Ms. Breonna Taylor is in an incredible amount of pain and anguish, and he also understands that the outcome of the Grand Jury proceedings was not what they had hoped. Regarding today’s statements at the press conference, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but prosecutors and Grand Jury members are bound by the facts and by the law. Attorney General Cameron is committed to doing everything he can to ensure the integrity of the prosecution before him and continue fulfilling his ethical obligations both as a prosecutor and as a partner in the ongoing federal investigation.”
Taylor’s death, alongside that of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, helped spark a nationwide wave of protests demanding racial justice and an end to the use of excessive force by law enforcement.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged that protestors exercise their First Amendment rights “peacefully and lawfully” during a media briefing Friday afternoon.
“But I want to stress that violence and destruction will not be tolerated,” Fischer said. “If you break windows, if you start fires, destroy property, or attack anyone including our officers you will be arrested.”
Acknowledging the “120 plus days” of protesting in the Louisville area, the mayor opened his remarks by saying, “many are hurting and angry about the decisions announced this week and I know the pain and anger are more than just about what happened just this past week.”
“They represent a demand to stop just talking about systemic and structural racism in our city and country and we do something about it,” said Fischer. “That we finally figure out if we don’t act intentionally to close the unconscionable gaps in education and wealth and health and opportunity we’re all deemed to repeat this turmoil over again and again.”
“I know most protestors continue to be peaceful and lawful and I thank you for that,” Fischer said. “But I want to caution the peaceful protestors that if you’re in a group where violent or destructive behavior is happening you need to separate from that group or you will be subject to arrest.”
LMPD Interim Chief Robert Schroeder said 26 people were arrested for various violations related to the protests and clarified that an “unlawful assembly” was declared before curfew which required people to disperse.
“Anyone who is part of a group causing damage or riotous behavior is subject to the charge of rioting, it does not require an individual to have participated in a specific destructive act,” said Schroeder citing Kentucky riot statutes.
The chief added, “If you’re in the immediate vicinity of those causing damage please separate yourself from those folks in the immediate vicinty of folks that are causing damage.”