Breonna Taylor’s Family Now Looks to FBI for Justice Following Grand Jury Decision, Friend Says
Last week, a Kentucky grand jury decided to not charge any of the officers directly in her death, while one of the cops would be charged for shooting into a nearby apartment.
Breonna Taylor’s family was thrust into the national spotlight while they say they are working to see justice served in their daughter and sister's March 13 death at the hands of police, but the pain the family has faced has largely been a private ordeal.
Last week, a Kentucky grand jury decided to not charge any of the officers directly in her death, while one of the cops would be charged for shooting into a apartment. The news came after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he and the grand jury have been reviewing the case for months. For Taylor’s family, the announcement was far from closure.
Activist Christopher 2X, head of 2X Game Changers, accompanied Taylor’s family and their lawyers for the trip from Louisville to Frankfort last Wednesday for the announcement. Prior to Cameron’s press conference, Taylor’s council and family met with Cameron in a closed door meeting. 2X stayed outside the room, ready to provide support, if needed, after.
From outside, he says he could hear Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, weeping.
“When I heard [Tamika] weeping, I knew the news was not that great,” he told Inside Edition Digital. “Coming out the door, it was a continuous stop and weeping and crying, however you want to describe it.”
The crying continued during the family's walk to their car, and it continued for the entirety of their 50 mile journey back home.
“It was very heartbreaking. It was very saddening. You feel almost hopeless in the way you can console a person like Tamika Palmer,” he said. “You feel so sad for that person because of how much energy was put in the push for justice ... especially in this case, an unarmed woman— an unarmed Black woman— when there was no perceived threat and she lost her life.”
The meeting with the family came just minutes before Cameron took the stage for a press conference to announce the grand jury's decision.
Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, charges which stem from shooting into a nearby apartment the night that Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot in her home in Louisville on March 13.
Hankison was booked Wednesday evening and released on $15,000 bond, according to reports. Hankison's attorney would not comment to Inside Edition Digital on the matter. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, two other officers connected to the shooting, were found to have acted in self-defense and were not criminally charged, authorities announced. No one was charged in connection to Taylor's death.
In response, Louisville has been consumed with demonstrations and protests, but 2X said he's working to encourage people to not despair and to keep an eye on the federal investigation.
“I have attempted to raise the awareness that there is another investigation taking place and we cannot take their eyes off of it,” he said. “My goal is to keep raising this conversation now since the AG announcement has been made and that people look to another way to say ‘where is the fairness?’ in this situation, involving the Breonna Taylor, shooting or any other civil rights violations that might arise.”
Saying he has “never witnessed” an instance where “federal investigators were seriously engaged on a police shooting in Louisville," 2X said what comes next is clear.
“The goal is simple, from the Game Changers group, is stay engaged as we get a decision from the FBI," he said.
Supervisory Special Agent Timothy Beam, a spokesman for the FBI, confirmed to Inside Edition Digital its investigation into Taylor's death is ongoing.
“FBI Louisville continues its federal criminal investigation into all aspects of the death of Breonna Taylor. This work will continue beyond the state charges announced on Wednesday,” Beam said.
When asked by Inside Edition Digital if the FBI are looking into civil rights violations, Beam said “absolutely,” adding, “I think the ‘civil’ part of AG Cameron’s presentation is confusing a lot of folks, so let me clarify: We are investigating any violation of federal criminal law, which includes potential civil rights violations. The FBI investigates criminal matters, not civil issues.”
2X has been involved with the family every step of the way since Taylor’s death. He said the day after the 26-year-old was killed, Palmer reached out to him for help. Noting Palmer "has got to be guarded," 2X said he believes she's happy that the FBI is looking into her daughter’s death.
“Most survivors think about one thing and that is trying their best and trying to cope and that is trying to deal with the excruciating thing they have been impacted with,” he said.
He says most survivors and family who lost a loved one like Taylor’s family did will express gratitude for support, but “at the end of the day, it is that same dark fate: talking about the loved one they lost.”
Earlier in September, Taylor’s estate was reached a settlement and received $12 million from the city in damages. The mayor also announced sweeping police reform.
In documentation previously obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal, police were authorized to carry out a “no-knock” warrant on Taylor’s Louisville home on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation of a person who lived in a home 10 miles away. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend, Walker, were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used to receive drugs.
Authorities 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, Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department. He is currently contesting his termination with legal counsel. Cosgrove and Mattingly have been reassigned. The LMPD internal investigation into the incident is ongoing.
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