Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the African American emergency medical technician who was killed by police during a surprise raid on her home, is demanding an independent prosecutor and a new grand jury to investigate her daughter’s death at the hands of three members of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) on March 13 just after 12:30 a.m.
A third juror came forward on Friday, corroborating with the first two jurors who went public last month with criticism of the presentation of the grand jury’s decision not to bring any charges in Taylor’s death made in September by Kentucky’s attorney general Daniel Cameron, who is African American and a rising star in the Republican Party.
The office of Kevin Glogower, the attorney representing the three jurors, explained in a statement, “After much reflection, Anonymous Grand Juror #3 has joined Anonymous Grand Jurors #1 and #2 in promoting truth and transparency regarding the Breonna Taylor case. Anonymous Grand Juror #3 firmly supports the fact that no additional charges were allowed at the conclusion of their service.” The grand jurors are remaining anonymous for fear for their own security.
This past week, Palmer wrote the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council stating, “At minimum, my daughter deserves, as do all aggrieved victims, a competent and capable prosecution team which is committed to properly investigating the case, evaluating the law from an unbiased lens, presenting the evidence and allowing the grand jurors to perform the functions guaranteed to them under the law.”
Cameron insisted that the “grand jury agreed” with the story that the police put forward when they broke in and began their rapid fire shooting spree killing Breonna Taylor.
“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law,” Cameron stated at his press conference announcing the charging decision in September, “these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed, and the Grand Jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove (police) were justified” in firing their guns.
Cameron in fact did not present the possibility of six homicide charges against police to the grand jury, spurring the three jurors to set the record straight.
Kenneth Walker III, Breonna’s boyfriend, maintains that there was knocking at the door, but no verbal warning from police was heard, he further stated that he fired a warning shot at what he believed were unidentified intruders.
Detective Brett Hankinson, since terminated from the LMPD, who fired shots from an outdoor patio into the apartment, was the only one charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for recklessly firing 10 bullets, with some of them entering into an occupied neighboring apartment.
Protests over Taylor’s murder in Louisville were amplified after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May triggered protests in cities across the US and internationally. The Democratic Party has consistently worked to suppress the protests, which are of a multiracial and multiethnic character, by promoting racial identity politics.
The working class, regardless of an individual worker’s race or ethnicity, is the target of police violence. While African Americans are disproportionately victims of the police killing, police violence is ultimately a class issue, finding its source in the capitalist system and the historic levels of social inequality it has produced.
A report last week by the Manual RedEye, a student newspaper in Louisville, exposed the fact that during the administration of Democratic Governor Steve Beshear the Kentucky State Police had been trained with a slideshow which favorably quoted German dictator Adolf Hitler and Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
The slideshow was part of a course which urged officers to be “warriors” and “ruthless killer[s].” This reactionary, racist, and fascist ideology and culture is endemic to police departments across the US and internationally.
The police are special bodies of armed men tasked with protecting the property interests of the rich. Changing the racial composition of police forces and prosecutors, presented as a solution by the Democratic Party, along with implementing racial sensitivity training, body cameras and other reforms has done nothing to slow the pace of murder and brutality meted out by the police.
According to the latest tally by killedbypolice.net, at least 818 people have been shot and killed by the police this year, on track to match the approximately 1,000 victims in each of the last five years.