Activists have renewed their calls for the arrests of the police officers involved in Breonna Taylor‘s death and demanded the state’s district attorney’s office prosecute them following recent developments making those legal options a realistic pathway to justice in Louisville.
Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine, who previously recused himself from the case under the guise of a purported conflict of interest, referred the investigation to Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general largely blamed for sabotaging the grand jury process resulting in weak charges for only one officer.
But now, activists say, Wine — a Democrat — no longer has that conflict of interest preventing him from seeking justice for Taylor’s untimely death that resulted from a suspiciously obtained and botched no-knock warrant in search of a suspect who was already in police custody in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020.
That conflict of interest Wine cited stemmed from the arrest of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, which his office was prosecuting. Walker suspected an intruder during the no-knock raid and fired his legally owned gun at the front door out of self-defense, hitting one of the officers while exercising the state’s stand your ground law. Police responded by blindly firing off a hail of bullets, killing Taylor who, prior to the shooting, had been sleeping. Walker was quickly charged with the attempted murder of a police officer.
While those charges were ultimately dismissed, they weren’t officially and permanently dropped until last week. That means that the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is no longer prosecuting the case, eliminating the existence of Wine’s self-described conflict of interest.
“Tom Wine has a responsibility to prosecute police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor,” Sarsour said on Thursday.
Wine, however, has refused to act, citing yet another conflict of interest. He suggested his hands were tied because the case was still being investigated by federal authorities.
“It continues in the hands of both independent investigators and prosecutors, those of the FBI and the United States Department of Justice,” Wine said in a statement released Thursday. “Violations of federal civil rights under color of law, resulting in the death of an individual, carry the same, if not greater, criminal penalties than those provided under Kentucky law.”
Wine added: “The Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney does not plan to present this matter to another grand jury as long as there is a pending federal investigation. To do so would create a risk of inconsistent results and recommendations and potentially hinder rather than advance justice in this case.”
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in an interview with NBC News this week that she wouldn’t stop fighting for justice for her daughter’s killing.
“Nobody has been held accountable, and that’s the problem,” Palmer said.
Several grand jurors in October suggested Cameron — who all but blamed Walker for Taylor’s death — lied during his secret presentation of the case by failing to include the option of any criminal charges other than wanton endangerment for gunshots that did not kill Taylor.
Until Freedom has a host of events lined up to commemorate Taylor’s life this weekend on the anniversary of her police killing, including a rally and march on Saturday in Lousiville.