Two years and one day after police killed Breonna Taylor in a botched raid on her Louisville apartment, high-profile civil rights lawyer Ben Crump expressed confidence in the ongoing federal investigation into the March 2020 killing of the 26-year-old Black ER tech.
“They affirm that they are looking under every stone, at every possible civil rights violation that could have happened that led to the death of Breonna Taylor,” said Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, during a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning following a 45-minute meeting with representatives of the Department of Justice. Crump was joined in the meeting by Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer.
Crump added that the DOJ indicated that the not guilty verdict returned in former LMPD detective Brett Hankison’s trial earlier this month would not have an impact on the investigations being done by the feds.
“We got an affirmation that the Department of Justice is not swayed with what happens with state charges,” he said. “They have a different purview to protect the civil rights of every American citizen.”
Hankison, the only officer charged in connection to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment, had faced three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree over shots he fired during the raid that entered the apartment next door to Taylor’s home. On March 3, he was found not guilty.
At the press conference, Lonita Baker, another attorney for the Taylor family, said prosecutors in Kentucky had consistently failed and betrayed Taylor’s family over the course of the last two years.
“Prosecutors have not only failed Tamika Palmer, they’ve betrayed Tamika Palmer in Kentucky. So we know we’re not going to get justice as it sits in Kentucky with the prosecutors we have at the helm,” she said. “So our only choice of justice — and it should not take two years — is with the Department of Justice.”
Later, when asked what she made of the strategy of Kentucky Attorney General’s Office’s prosecution in the Brett Hankison case, she said: “Personally, as a former prosecutor, I did not see a prosecution that wanted to get a conviction.”
While Crump expressed confidence in the DOJ, he was unable to provide an update on how long the federal investigation might take. The FBI announced that it was investigating Taylor’s death in 2020. Last year, the DOJ announced that it would be carrying out a separate, wide-ranging pattern and practice probe of LMPD as a whole.
Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said she would continue fighting for justice in her daughter’s death.
“The most important thing is to remember that Breonna didn’t deserve this. She was at her home, in her own home minding her business when these people kicked in her door and murdered her,” she said. “For the nation, it’s been two years and one day. For me, I’m trapped in March 13, 2020.”
Keep Louisville interesting and support LEO Weekly by subscribing to our newsletter here. In return, you’ll receive news with an edge and the latest on where to eat, drink and hang out in Derby City.