Hopes dashed twice for Breonna Taylor's mother over lack of charges against officers

Tamika Palmer made the hour-long drive to hear the news from Attorney General Cameron directly and learned she wouldn't get the justice she sought.

9/25/2020 2:33:00 PM

When Breonna Taylor's mother learned there were only three wanton endangerment charges filed against one officer at her daughter's home the night Louisville police shot and killed her daughter, she fell apart.

Tamika Palmer made the hour-long drive to hear the news from Attorney General Cameron directly and learned she wouldn't get the justice she sought.

.Tamika Palmer made the hourlong drive from Louisville to Frankfort on Wednesday to hear the news from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron directly — only to learn she wouldn't get the justice she sought.And when she learned those three charges weren't even for her daughter's slaying, she fell apart again.

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"I said, 'Tamika, I hate to have to tell you this,'" attorney Lonita Baker recounted to The Courier Journal on Thursday, "'but I can't let you leave here and see it on the news, on social media or anything else. Do you know what the three counts of wanton endangerment was for?'

"She looked at me and it instantly clicked, and she broke down again," Baker said."The neighbors," Palmer replied.Breonna Taylor protesters defy curfew, confront armed counter-protestersBreonna Taylor announcement:Attorneys for Palmer, furious about the grand jury's decision and at the case Cameron presented, are also frustrated by how he handled relaying that news to Taylor's mother.

Had they known the decision, they would not have sent Palmer to Frankfort."Everything that happened with Tamika was foreseeable," said Sam Aguiar, Baker's Louisville-based co-counsel."And shame on the attorney general's office for not recognizing that."

Aguiar told The Courier Journal he twice conveyed to Cameron's office through local activist Christopher 2X that he only wanted Palmer to travel to Frankfort if there were indictments against the officers who killed her daughter.Otherwise, the drive would be torture for Palmer, and it wouldn't be worth it, Aguiar said.

"To get that news in Frankfort and then basically be cooped up in a car … it would be awful," Aguiar said, recalling his message.2X confirmed he told Cameron's office that Palmer didn't want to meet if there weren't indictments. He also said the invitation to meet in person Wednesday was the result of a promise made

during an Aug. 12 meeting, in which Cameron told Palmer he'd tell her the decision in person.But on Wednesday, after they got the call to come to Frankfort and made the trip, Aguiar's fear came true.There was an indictment — but not for Taylor's death.

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What is wanton endangerment?:As Cameron met with Taylor's family and attorneys in Frankfort, Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O'Connell read the indictment returned by the grand jury over a public video call.Only formerwould be charged. He faces three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shots he fired that went into an apartment next to Taylor's with three people inside.

There were no charges for any of the officers who shot Taylor, according to Cameron's investigation —Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly— or for the shots from Hankison that hit her Taylor's apartment.Baker said Cameron began the conversation with a discussion of the grand jury presentation and how the justice system doesn't always give people what they want.

"And so he says that the grand jury decided only to charge Brett Hankison, and it charged him with wanton endangerment," Baker said."Tamika immediately breaks down."It was Aguiar who asked how many counts of wanton endangerment Hankison faced.

Cameron told them three.For Baker, a former prosecutor, it clicked immediately."The wanton endangerment charges were not even for Breonna," she said."Daniel Cameron never said anything about who the counts were for."Outside, after the meeting was done, Palmer collapsed to the ground.

Breonna Taylor's family dismayed:'I'm mad as hell because nothing's changing'But Baker still had to deliver more unwanted news — that's when she told Palmer the charges were for the neighbors.Baker said she is angry Cameron put her in that position. She noted as the state's top law enforcement official, he'll have to deal with many victims during his tenure.

"Even if you think it's something they don't want to hear, you have to fully communicate with them," Baker said."Not only is it the right thing to do, we have a legal obligation to do it."Only Bianca Austin, Taylor's aunt, was composed enough to console Palmer without betraying her sadness, anger and frustration. Austin had to drive back to Louisville because Palmer couldn't.

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"They never expressed any sort of apology," Aguiar said. "They did not explain the process to her. They did not explain what they presented to the grand jury. The only thing they basically said was that the grand jury came back with an indictment for wanton endangerment."

A day after the news, Palmer walked through Jefferson Square — the hub of protests demanding justice for her daughter — with supporters, snapping a few photos, then walked to Market Street to her car.There, she said it was the first time she’d been at the square since the grand jury decision.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “The love is still here.”She recalled her reaction to his announcement a day earlier.“Mad. Pissed. Upset. Hurt. A lot of emotions," she said."I wasn’t surprised, though. I didn’t have faith in them to begin with. I was holding out hope."

Read more: USA TODAY »

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It may be upsetting the legal was followed. She also got $12 million. Let her Rest In Peace Not getting revenge and having to settle for millions of hard earned tax payer money can make one shed crocodile tears. Fell apart and wiped her tears with $12,000,000. Bre Taylor was a good person. She served her community! She helped SAVE LIVES as a certified EMT. If the cops wanted to search her home, they could have easily served her a warrant at work & entered her home without violence. INSTEAD they murdered her! They shot her 8 times!

sad The mom needs to read the report. 41 pages. Like they used to say: READ ALL ABOUT IT! It seems like her daughter had no brains, neither before or after. She didn’t refuse the $12,000,000 that police will give her to settle the civil charges. What about the 12 million? Perhaps she should have intervened when her daughter was involved with dangerous criminals who dealt drugs. The bf opened fire on police so not sure how she expected other charges would apply based on the law

Had her daughter's boyfriend not opened fire on the police, she would be alive today. She would also be alive if her other boyfriend wasn't a drug dealer who listed her address as his and if she did not keep his drug money in her apartment. Tell your children not to hang with drug dealers. Tell your children to obey the police.

The only thing to do now is to steer all BlK male athletes from attending U Kentucky and U of Louisville. Only have them attend HBCU’s. Maybe she shouldn't date drug dealers & this shit wouldn't have happened She's crying because she can finally afford that new car So was she not told her boyfriend was the one who killed her

She accepted 12 million. she settled for money, nobody to blame but herself. Facts matter, maybe she really broke down after learning things about her daughter that she never knew. It’s always tragic when someone dies but actions have consequences, when you shoot at the police it rarely works out well.

What did she THINK was gonna happen? You took $12Mill..... 💔 You’re only as good as the worst company you keep We need justice for the same thing that happened to the couple in Houston where is there $12 million? HardingStreetRaid Her pain must be unbelievable. That being said you can’t charge someone with a crime they didn’t commit to assuage someone else’s grief.

Maybe she's upset that her daughter was sleeping with armed drug dealers. Nah. And I'm sure $12million from city milquetoasts will help her through her grief. I’m sure that she probably wasn’t that close to her anyway? But she probably enjoys that money!! She should also be upset that her daughters boyfriend fired at police first...

Fake headline that’s not what happened I hate that someone lost their life. Sucks for sure. I don’t, however, understand why people took such a stand on this. Makes no sense with so many other issues, deaths, trafficking going on. Mrs. Taylor take your money and get out of Kentucky. She could take a lesson from Botham Jean's mother

The 12 million ought to cushion her fall. 🤡 No falling apart over her daughter dating a violent gangbanger who opened fire on the police first after police knocked and announced themselves? Interesting. She was a criminal. I will not shed tears for a criminal. The system worked exactly how it’s supposed to. That’s why we want to dismantle it!! A racist system, in a racist county, where the laws and constitution were created by racist white men will never be a free and fair society. acab blm dismantlethesystem

Let's get something straight. The officer who shot wildly will be charged but the others did their job correctly & will not be charged. You are not the judge & jury. It's a tragedy she lost her life, but she was involved in drugs & had a legit warrant in her name. No one denies that what happened was a tragedy, but it seems this mother wasn’t exactly falling apart when her daughter shacked up with a child molester.

It's a tragedy but not every tragedy is a crime. Her boyfriend fired shots and cops RETURNED fire. Why she shouldn't have settled so easily Didn't a police officer get shot first? THE WOMEN GOT $11 MILLION DAMN DOLLARS. WTH IS SHE BITCH'N ABOUT I still don't get this decision - they were all shooting blindly.

Serious question: What indictment should they get for returning fire? Did she fall apart when she realized her daughter's boyfriend was a drug dealer or would put her daughter's life in danger by shooting at the police.

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