On what marks five months since Breonna Taylor was killed, her family and attorneys Benjamin Crump and Lonita Baker appeared at Louisville City Hall to call on local politicians to respect the rights of protesters, many of whom have spent 70 consecutive days demanding justice in the slain EMT’s case.
“The entire city of Louisville has to be bereaved and then you have to engage community stakeholders," Crump passionately told reporters Thursday.
Crump's comments come in the wake of city officials declaring that demonstrators could not march on the streets. They said Sunday protesters were allowed to march on the sidewalks.
Crump called on local politicians, including Mayor Greg Fischer, to “rise to the occasion in the spirit of Breonna Taylor.” He called on leaders to work with the protesters and referenced the recently deceased civil rights icon John Lewis in his speech. "Look for the future John Lewis in these protests," he said. "Don’t treat the protesters as criminals.”
Crump said he and Fischer met Wednesday. What resulted was a “positive, productive conversation about how we try to work together to heal this city beyond just getting justice in the criminal matter for Breonna Taylor.”
He called on Fischer to be an example and set the standard for what it means to be a mayor in America, saying, “set an example on how you engage activists and protesters and not antagonize them.”
He also called for the arrests and conviction of the cops who killed Taylor.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Crump said as he fielded questions. “We can’t have two justice systems -- one for Black Americans and one for white Americans.”
He also said he "expect[s] charges to be filed sooner rather than later" against the three officers who shot at Taylor’s apartment.
"It has been 150 days but it still feels like March 13,” Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin, said as she held back tears. Taylor was killed March 13.
“Everyday is still March 13," Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, said. “There should not be a Breonna Taylor anywhere.
“It is bigger than Breonna, it is bigger than Black Lives Matter," she continued.
While Palmer urged politicians to “bridge the gap between us and the police,” Austin called on demonstrators to “take the city back” and “invest in the community."
“I appreciated getting to speak with Breonna’s family’s lawyers," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told Inside Edition Digital in a statement about Crump's press conference and remarks. "We have a shared goal to get to the truth behind Breonna’s tragic death, as well as work to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again in our community. We all play a role in creating justice for Breonna – through peaceful protest, through reimagining public safety, and through dismantling systemic racism. I am committed to these goals – for her, for her family and for our entire city.”
On Wednesday, Taylor’s family and lawyers met with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Palmer said that the attorney general “seemed sincere and genuine, which I appreciated,” in a statement obtained by ABC News.
“We all deserve to know the whole truth behind what happened to my daughter,” Palmer said. “The attorney general committed to getting us the truth. We’re going to hold him up to that commitment.”
According to the statement, Cameron met with the family “to personally express his condolences.” Cameron has repeatedly asked for patience during the investigation.
In documentation previously obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal, police were authorized to carry out a “no-knock” warrant on Taylor’s Louisville, Kentucky, home on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation on a home 10 miles away. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used to receive drugs.
Authorities initially said they identified themselves despite the “no-knock” warrant. Police said the officers were “immediately” met by gunfire when they entered Taylor and Walker's home, at which point they returned fire.
Walker called 911 during the ordeal and he was informed he'd shot an officer. He was initially charged with attempted murder, but his charges were later dropped after he said he shot in self-defense thinking he and Taylor were victims of a home invasion.
In the wake of Taylor's death, the city has banned "no-knock" warrants.
In June, Officer Brett Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department; he is currently contesting his termination with legal council. Officer Myles Cosgrove and John Mattingly have been reassigned. None of the officers have been arrested or charged in Taylor’s death.