No Officers Charged With Breonna Taylor's Death, Her Mom Wanted "Full Justice"
Just days after Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mom, said she wanted "full justice" for her daughter after the 26-year-old Black EMT was killed in her apartment during a police raid in the middle of the night, a Kentucky grand jury indicted one of three officers involved in Taylor's shooting. But not for her death.
On Wednesday, former officer Brett Hankison of the Louisville Police Department, who was fired in June, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment, a Class D felony that faces a maximum sentence of five years, for the March 13 shooting of Taylor, according to CNN. Taylor was shot multiple times by police after they entered her home on a no-knock warrant during a drug investigation, according to ABC News. The other two officers involved in the fatal shooting, Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, have not faced any charges. But despite today's developments, an FBI investigation into Taylor's death remains open, as the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
In the months since Taylor's death, Black Lives Matter activists have taken to the streets to protest systemic racism and the use of excessive force by police officers, citing the case of Taylor often and calling for the officers involved in the shooting to be charged. None, perhaps, have been so vocal as Taylor's mother.
For months, Palmer and other members of Taylor's family have been speaking out and calling on others to "say her name" to demand justice. Most recently, after the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor's family $12 million to settle a civil lawsuit and a promise to implement police reforms, Palmer said it was just "beginning of getting justice" for her daughter.
"As significant as today is, it's only the beginning of getting justice for Breonna," Palmer said at a news conference last week. "We must not lose focus on what the real job is. And with that being said, it's time to move forward with the criminal charges. Because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So please continue to say her name. Breonna Taylor."
On Friday, Palmer also spoke with NPR's Morning Edition about her hopes that criminal charges would be laid in her daughter's death. "I'm hoping to hear that there will be charges. That these people will be fired and arrested," she told the news outlet.
Just five days later, the Kentucky grand jury came back with three charges of wanton endangerment against one officer and no charges against the other two. A decision Taylor's family lawyer Ben Crump called "outrageous and offensive" in a tweet on Wednesday.
As Crump explained, the charges of wanton endangerment were "for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor."
"If Brett Hankison's behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor's apartment too," he tweeted. "In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!"
Kentucky statute states that someone is "guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person."
Palmer has yet to speak out about the grand jury decision, but it was almost as if she knew what would come. Hours before the decision was made public, the heartbroken mother took to Instagram to share a quote from A. Phillip Randolph that read, "Freedom is never given; it is won."