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Breonna Taylor's Family Speaks Out After Grand Jury's Decision


In Louisville today, the family of Breonna Taylor criticized Kentucky's attorney general for failing to charge any of the three police officers with her death. It was the first time the family has spoken publicly since the AG announced a grand jury's findings earlier this week. NPR's Adrian Florido reports from Louisville.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: When Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Wednesday that a grand jury had declined to indict the three officers for Taylor's death, he said it made the decision after hearing the evidence Cameron's office had gathered in the case. Today, the Taylor family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, stood amid flowers, candles and placards at a makeshift memorial for Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville.


BENJAMIN CRUMP: Breonna Taylor's entirely family is heartbroken and bewildered as to what did Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron present to the grand jury. Did he present any evidence on Breonna Taylor's behalf?

CRUMP: Crump spoke surrounded by Breonna Taylor's family. Taylor's aunt, Bianca Austin, read a statement from Taylor's mother criticizing the attorney general.


BIANCA AUSTIN: I knew he had already chosen to be on the wrong side of the law the moment he wanted the grand jury to make the decision. I was reassured Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system.

FLORIDO: While Attorney General Cameron has said his investigation is complete, the family issued a new demand. They want to see transcripts of the case state prosecutors made to the grand jury.


CRUMP: Release the transcript. Release the transcript.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Release the transcript.

FLORIDO: Crump said it's the only way to convince the Taylor family that the attorney general had not, quote, "put his thumb on the scale to deny them justice." Aubrey Williams is a criminal defense attorney and a former president of the Louisville NAACP.

AUBREY WILLIAMS: You have a better chance for a snowball surviving in hell than you would to getting that grand jury transcript released.

FLORIDO: He says even if the attorney general found no legal basis to bring charges against the officers...

FLORIDO: How in the world can one expect a grand jury of laypeople to reach a just decision with only a day and a half to consider a mountain of evidence?

FLORIDO: Russell Weaver, a University of Louisville law professor, said there are sound legal reasons for keeping grand jury transcripts secret. One is that one of the officers involved in the raid on Taylor's apartment, Brett Hankison, was charged - not for Taylor's killing, but for recklessly firing his gun.

RUSSELL WEAVER: You don't want prejudice the case against Hankison. Secondarily, sometimes you don't want to have defamatory material come out about people who they ultimately decided there wasn't enough evidence to charge. So there are reasons why you might keep it secret.

FLORIDO: Aside from that, he, like many legal experts, said the law likely supports the decision not to charge because the officers who raided Breonna Taylor's apartment executed a legal warrant and fired their guns after Taylor's boyfriend fired at them.

WEAVER: I do think that the people are not sufficiently focusing on the law, the facts. I think once you do all that, it's extremely hard to think that these officers should have been charged.

FLORIDO: But on the streets of Louisville, anger has been building in the days since the decision not to charge. On Thursday night, Lassandra Potter was among the hundreds who marched downtown, along with her four daughters.


LASSANDRA POTTER: Any of these little girls could have been Breonna. It was just, like, no regards to her life. And that's not fair. It's not fair to my daughters who I'm trying to raise.

FLORIDO: She said she's protested 75 of the 120 days since Breonna Taylor was killed and will keep marching until she feels justice has been served.

Adrian Florido, NPR News, Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOGO PENGUIN'S "BRANCHES BREAK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Adrian Florido
Adrian Florido is a national correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.
Liz Baker