Breonna Taylor’s mother wept when she was told that Louisville cops would not be charged with killing her daughter, a family friend said.
Tamika Palmer was given the news by Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron only two minutes before it was announced to the world on Wednesday night.
Activist Christopher 2X told CNN that there was ‘a lot of sadness and weeping’ when the family was told, saying he had witnessed ‘a mother in excruciating pain’.
The announcement that only one officer would be charged, and not directly for killing Taylor, sparked a fresh wave of protests in Louisville and across the US where Taylor’s name has become a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tamika Palmer (pictured), the mother of Breonna Taylor, was left ‘weeping’ when she learned of the grand jury’s decision not to charge Louisville cops with killing her daughter
Only one cop is being charged in relation to the police raid which killed Breonna Taylor (pictured), and not directly for killing her
Palmer was with her daughter Bianca Austin and sister Juniyah Palmer as well as family attorneys when she was told of the grand jury’s decision.
One attorney, Sam Aguiar, said Palmer had driven to see the attorney general despite lawyers’ requests that she not be forced to attend to hear bad news.
Taylor’s family was last week awarded a $12million settlement by the city of Louisville, six months after she was shot by police who burst into her home late at night with a search warrant.
The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor multiple times, killing her.
Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.
Palmer said last week that the settlement was ‘only the beginning of getting full justice’ for Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician.
The city has promised sweeping reforms to its police department as part of the civil lawsuit settlement.
‘Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor,’ Palmer said last week.
‘No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna’s legacy.’
Heavily-armed riot police stand guard in a street in downtown Louisville amid protests sparked by a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to clear three officers of charges for killing Taylor
Protesters pass by a burning pile of trash as tensions boiled over in Louisville’s downtown area on Wednesday night
Protests erupted against last night after the single charge was announced against detective Brett Hankison, who is accused of ‘wanton endangerment’ for firing shots into neighboring apartments.
Neither Hankison nor the two officers who fired the shots that killed Taylor were charged in direct connection with her death.
Attorney general Cameron said Hankison had not fired the fatal shots and the two other officers who opened fire had done so in self-defense.
‘This is a tragedy,’ Cameron said. ‘I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges reported today. Every person has an idea of what they think justice is.’
The biggest protest last night was in Louisville, but demonstrators also took to the streets in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Two cops were shot on Wednesday night and a suspect was charged today with wanton endangerment – the same count as in the Taylor case.
Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said both officers were expected to recover, although one was undergoing surgery.
President Donald Trump said he was ‘praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky’.
‘The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help,’ he said, offering assistance to Kentucky governor Andy Beshear.
Police said they had made 127 arrests in Louisville, with some people detained for jumping on city vehicles being used as barricades.
Later, protesters who refused orders to disperse were arrested for curfew and unlawful assembly violations.
Police also said some businesses were looted early Thursday including two City Gear stores and a pawn shop.
Officers stand in the street shortly after shots were fired at police resulting in two injured officers
Nightfall gave way to even more disorder in the city as fires broke out on the streets
Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Taylor family, had earlier condemned the grand jury decision as ‘outrageous and offensive.’
‘It’s yet another example of no accountability for the genocide of persons of color by white police officers,’ he said.
‘If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder.’
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the grand jury charges as ‘not accountability and not close to justice.’
‘This is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core,’ the ACLU said.
Cameron, the attorney general, also addressed reports that the police officers had executed a ‘no-knock’ search warrant on Taylor’s home, bursting in without warning.
‘They did knock and announce,’ he said. ‘That information was corroborated by another witness.’
Anger over Taylor’s death in March was given fresh momentum by the George Floyd protests which erupted in the wake of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May.