Will officers be charged in Bre­onna Tay­lor shoot­ing?

A de­ci­sion by AG could de­ter­mine whether jus­tice or chaos wins out

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Tessa Du­vall, Darcy Costello, Hayes Gardner and Matthew Glow­icki

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In un­clouded, im­pas­sioned words, Bre­onna Tay­lor’s mother has made it clear what she expects Ken­tucky At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron to do about the three Louisville officers in­volved her in daugh­ter’s death.

Charge them all.

Tamika Palmer said as much in an unflinch­ingly di­rect and heart­felt post on her In­sta­gram page Thurs­day, call­ing out Cameron by name, ap­peal­ing to him as a mother would to a son.

“Do you have the power and courage to call my child yours,” she asked him, “the power to see that my cry and my com­mu­nity’s cry is heard, and the power as part of a vil­lage who raises our chil­dren to do right by one of our daugh­ters?!”

For the past 184 days – since she learned the morn­ing of March 13 that her 26- year- old daugh­ter was ly

“The at­tor­ney gen­eral com­mit­ted to get­ting us the truth. We’re go­ing to hold him up to that com­mit­ment.” Tamika Palmer

Bre­onna Tay­lor’s mother

ing dead in her apart­ment – Palmer has anx­iously awaited a de­ci­sion in the case.

She’s not the only one.

Much of Louisville and fol­low­ers of the story around the coun­try are seem­ingly hold­ing their col­lec­tive breath to see what de­ci­sion Cameron will an­nounce in the month­s­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her death.

And, equally im­por­tant, one crit­i­cal ques­tion is be­ing asked by elected officials, pub­lic safety lead­ers, many res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers: What will hap­pen to the city of Louisville once Cameron’s an­nounce­ment goes pub­lic?

“No mat­ter what the an­nounce­ment is, it’s not go­ing to be sat­is­fac­tory to ev­ery­body,” said Sam Aguiar, a Louisville at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Palmer.

The pro­tege of Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell re­ceived the Louisville Metro Po­lice’s sub­stan­tially com­plete Pub­lic In­tegrity Unit in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the shoot­ing May 20.

Since then, he’s stayed largely mum pub­licly about his office’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, stat­ing this week that it re­mains on­go­ing and “if done prop­erly, can­not fol­low a specific time­line.”

“When the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cludes and a de­ci­sion is made,” he said Sept. 9, “we will pro­vide an up­date about an an­nounce­ment. The news will come from our office and not un­named sources. Un­til that time, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­mains on­go­ing.”

Tay­lor’s fam­ily: ‘ It’s crunch time’

The days have been par­tic­u­larly try­ing for Palmer, an in­tensely pri­vate woman who has found her­self un­com­fort­ably thrust into the spot­light af­ter los­ing a daugh­ter.

Her at­tor­neys de­clined an in­ter­view with her for this story, seek­ing to give her a re­prieve.

But on Thurs­day, Palmer took to In­sta­gram to de­liver a pow­er­ful mes­sage to Cameron: “It’s crunch time and we’re putting our faith and trust in you.

“Your mother put ev­ery­thing she had into rais­ing you,” Palmer wrote, tag­ging the ac­count of the 34- year- old rookie at­tor­ney gen­eral, elected in Novem­ber.

“If you ask her, she will say with­out hes­i­ta­tion that she would stop at noth­ing to pro­tect you. She would be will­ing to give her life to save yours. If you were gunned down in your own home, wouldn’t she de­mand the killers be brought to jus­tice? Would she stand up and de­mand jus­tice if it was be­ing de­layed? Would she want the sup­port of the com­mu­nity and oth­ers to help her when her cry for jus­tice for her child’s death was be­ing ig­nored?

“If she had the power to make sure this type of in­jus­tice would never hap­pen with­out ac­count­abil­ity and con­se­quences, would she make sure of it? Will you make sure of it?”

In the early days of the protests, when seven peo­ple were shot and down­town stores saw their win­dows shat­tered and their in­ven­to­ries looted, Tay­lor’s fam­ily was quick to call for calm.

“I didn’t agree with it and I didn’t feel like it was the Bre way,” Palmer said in June. “It doesn’t rep­re­sent who she was.”

Palmer, other fam­ily mem­bers and her at­tor­neys met with Cameron on Aug. 12, where the at­tor­ney gen­eral ex­pressed his con­do­lences and stressed the im­por­tance of get­ting all the facts in the case.

“The at­tor­ney gen­eral com­mit­ted to get­ting us the truth,” Palmer said af­ter­ward. “We’re go­ing to hold him up to that com­mit­ment.”

Pro­test­ers: ‘ Will they get what they’re cry­ing for?’

While the goals of the Tay­lor move­ment have grown over the sum­mer, at the crux is the same cry that pro­test­ers have been ask­ing for since demon­stra­tions be­gan, more than 100 days ago: “Ar­rest the cops.”

That mes­sage echoed in the early days of the protests, was sung on the steps of the state Capi­tol dur­ing a rally in Frank­fort, pre­sented it­self in liv­ing rooms in the form of a tele­vi­sion ad, and is still ev­i­dent on art­work at Jeffer­son Square Park and on the lips of pro­test­ers in the small groups that con­tinue to march from there each night.

De­mand­ing that the three in­volved officers be charged with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Tay­lor’s death has been the most tan­gi­ble and con­sis­tent de­sire of the pro­test­ers.

If the three officers are not charged with sig­nificant crimes, demon­stra­tors may re­spond with anger to a jus­tice sys­tem they feel has let them down yet again.

Kris Smith was one of the first pro­test­ers down­town the night it be­gan on May 28. He’s wor­ried that this time, if there is any loot­ing af­ter a de­ci­sion is an­nounced, it could re­sult in deadly en­coun­ters be­tween loot­ers and pro­tec­tive, armed busi­ness own­ers.

“The first loot­ing caught ev­ery­body off guard,” he said. “But once Daniel Cameron says he’s go­ing to come out with his de­ci­sion, the store own­ers are go­ing to be ready.”

He doesn’t, how­ever, pre­dict loot­ing and ri­ot­ing will oc­cur.

Louisville po­lice: We will ‘ be pre­pared’

Louisville Metro Po­lice say they are pre­par­ing for large- scale protests.

“While the un­cer­tainty most definitely is caus­ing con­cern for many, LMPD wants to as­sure our com­mu­nity that we have a plan and will be pre­pared to re­spond as needed,” spokes­woman Jessie Hal­la­day said in a state­ment.

Mean­while, the po­lice have weath­ered their share of difficul­ties. De­par­tures are spik­ing be­cause of re­tire­ments, and the city has al­ready recorded 114 fa­tal shoot­ings, mean­ing it will soon eclipse the city’s 2016 record of 117.

More­over, the de­part­ment is poised to get its third chief since June af­ter Steve Con­rad was fired and in­terim Chief Robert Schroder an­nounced he is re­tir­ing Oct. 1. Yvette Gen­try will take over as in­terim chief then un­til a per­ma­nent re­place­ment is hired.

SAM UPSHAW JR./ USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

Many in Louisville, Ky., hope the of­fi­cers in­volved in Bre­onna Tay­lor’s death will be charged. At­tor­ney Sam Aguiar said, “No mat­ter what the an­nounce­ment is, it’s not go­ing to be sat­is­fac­tory to ev­ery­body.”

COUR­TESY OF TAMIKA PALMER

Tay­lor smiles with her mother, Tamika Palmer.

PHO­TOS BY MATT STONE/ USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

A pro­tester asks a Louisville Metro Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cer to look him in the eyes dur­ing a protest for Bre­onna Tay­lor in Louisville, Ky. About 60 peo­ple were ar­rested dur­ing that day’s protests.

Tamika Palmer, Tay­lor’s mother, cries on the steps of Metro Hall in Louisville, Ky., dur­ing a re­mem­brance event for her daugh­ter. Tay­lor, 26, was shot and killed by po­lice of­fi­cers who were ex­e­cut­ing a no- knock search war­rant at her apart­ment in March.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.