Aug 13, 2020
Breonna Taylor Case Update Transcript August 13: Family Attorneys Hold Press Conference
Ben Crump: (00:01)
Yesterday, we had a very important series of meetings. As you all know, we met with the Attorney General Daniel Cameron in the morning, and in the afternoon we met with Mayor Fischer and the city attorney. At this time, we’re going to have attorney Lanita Baker, my most able co- counsel, based right here in Louisville, Kentucky, as you know, talk to you about the meeting with the Attorney General, and then I will share some remarks with you about the meeting with Mayor Fischer. And then we will hear from Tamika Palmer and we also have present her sister, Bianca, who has been a good shoulder for her to lean on through this entire ordeal. But first we will give you a Lanita Baker, who, since she first told me about this botched no knock warrant that led to the execution of Tamika’s daughter, she has been steadfast and committed every day, every hour, every minute, to getting justice for a Breonna Taylor. Attorney, Lanita Baker.
Lanita Baker: (01:32)
Thank you. I’m here this morning to talk about our meeting yesterday with Attorney General Daniel Cameron, where Tamika Palmer, Jenaya Palmer, Breonna’s sister, Bianca Austin, myself and Sam Agora were present with Attorney General Daniel Cameron and members of his staff. The purpose of that meeting was for the Attorney General to personally extend his condolences to Ms. Palmer and the family of Breonna Taylor. That was the first time that he had personally spoken with them. During the meeting, he did indicate that he did not reach out previously, as he was fearful that it could compromise his investigation.
Lanita Baker: (02:11)
He did not divulge any of the details of his investigation, but said that he is waiting on ballistics from the FBI, as well as interviewing some additional witnesses or re-interviewing witnesses that they may have already spoken to. He did not give a timeline. However, it is our position that we’re not going to wait forever. We do want this resolved quickly and accurately so that Ms. Palmer and the family can get some answers as it relates to the murder of Breonna Taylor. And with that, I’ll answer questions later, but I’ll turn it over to my co-counsel. Mr. Crump.
Ben Crump: (02:58)
Thank you, Lanita. Can I have you step down?
Ben Crump: (03:04)
As we sit here, over 150 days later after this tragedy that should have never happened, Attorney Baker and I met with Mayor Fischer and the City Attorney’s office and we had a very positive, productive conversation about how we try to work together to heal this city beyond just getting justice in the criminal matter for Breonna Taylor. And Lanita and I held no punches back when we talked with Mayor Fischer, because you understand Mayor Fisher is not just the leader of Louisville, Kentucky, he also acts as the current President of the United States Conference of Mayors. So whatever actions that he takes not only sends a message to Louisville, Kentucky, but it sends a message to all the cities across America. And so we challenged him to make sure that he is courageous and responsible in trying to lead his city out of this tragedy.
Ben Crump: (04:55)
Not only as a legacy for his administration, not only as a legacy for his city, but as a legacy for Breonna Taylor. He has that power and we want him to rise to the occasion. And so we talk about Attorney Baker and I, how he deals with the protesters. Let’s make sure we look at what has happened in other cities across America who have dealt with similar unnecessary, unjustifiable, and senseless killings of black people by the police, whether it’s Minneapolis, we saw what they did. They immediately terminated all those officers. They immediately called for charges. We see in Atlanta, with Rayshawn Brooks, they immediately, the Mayor called for the termination of all those officers and called for charges for all those officers. But right now in Louisville, people are still waiting after 150 days for these officers to be arrested and charged.
Ben Crump: (06:35)
They’re still waiting after 150 days for these officers to be terminated. And we understand, here in the City Attorney’s office, they have to follow policies. We get that. Attorney Baker and I were very detailed in our meetings with them on that and the challenges that they may have. However, we do know that if you lie on your job, that is a grounds for termination. And we know that the police officer lied on that probable cause affidavit to entice the judge to sign this no knock warrant that led to the execution of Breonna Taylor. So those things that we know were wrong, you need to address them. Because as a minister who was with us said quite eloquently, wouldn’t you say Lanita? He said, “First, we can’t just get to healing. That’s the last step. First you have to admit the wrong. You have to admit the wrong that occurred. And then you have to have conscientious-”
Ben Crump: (08:03)
And then you have to have conscientious thoughts about how that wrong happened. As Attorney Aguilar continues to talk about how we change policies to prevent this from happening again, you got to have conscientious thought. I mean, you got to have serious deliberation. You have to have bereavement to an extent just like Tamika Palmer is bereaved. The entire city of Louisville has to be bereaved. And then you have to engage community stakeholders, members of the clergy, members of the activist community. We have to have the protestors being part of the solution. We have to have the business community being part of the solution. He was a great businessman so he has a certain amount of credibility with the business community. He has to engage them to say that we’re all part of this. We all have a role to play in the solution here. And then, and only then after we talk about how we change this activism into action, how we change these moments into a movement, how we change this pain that we’re all feeling about the loss of Breonna into a sense of power.
Ben Crump: (09:40)
And until we can change the protest into policy, only then can we get to healing and great leaders rise to the occasion. We expect Mayor Fisher and the city leadership in Louisville to rise to the occasion with the spirit of Breonna Taylor, to rise to the occasion in the spirit of the recently deceased John Lewis, to be a conscious for the community. And not to antagonize the young people, whether they’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all these young people who are descending on Louisville to exercise their First Amendment rights because they see themselves as Breonna Taylor. Maybe you all have children and you can understand just the thought of your child getting to be a young adult and you’ve done everything you can to prepare her for adulthood. And then to have her taken away by the very people who are supposed to protect and serve her. So hopefully you all can relate to the activists.
Ben Crump: (11:21)
Hopefully you all can relate as parents why people are so emotional and don’t try to take their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest from them. Work with them. Don’t come challenging them because they are young people and they may not make perfect decisions. And God knows the city leadership has not made perfect decisions either or we wouldn’t be here, right Lanita?
Lanita Baker: (11:54)
Ben Crump: (11:55)
And so let’s look for the future John Lewis’s in those protestors, because you might have the future John Lewis right here from Louisville, Kentucky, who’s out there marching through the streets saying say her name. And so I hope that Mayor Fisher would see the potential in that young citizen of Louisville and not treat them like a criminal and not add to an already overburdened and overwhelmed criminal justice system here in Louisville by having the police just arrest all the protesters, making the court’s docket even busier because there’s always a fork in the road. Mayor Fisher can take the road that has commonly been taken in America where we have two justice systems, one for black America and one for white America, or he can take the road less traveled that I have seen doing these cases all over America. And that is to fight for equal justice for every citizen in the United States of America, especially here in Louisville, Kentucky, as they demand justice for Breonna Taylor. And we do expect charges to be filed sooner rather than later for those responsible for the death and the execution of Breonna Taylor.
Ben Crump: (13:50)
Like I said, it was intense, long meetings, but we thought it was productive. We pray that Mayor Fisher thought it was productive and that we can try to start healing this community. At this point, we’re going to have you hear from the mother and the aunt of Breonna Taylor, who so desperately wants Mayor Fisher and the leadership of the city to help them not only get justice for Breonna Taylor, but to help heal this community. Ms. Tamika Palmer.
Lanita Baker: (14:32)
She should go last. Bianca next.
Ben Crump: (14:36)
Oh, okay. We’ll have Bianca Austin, her aunt, speak first, and then we will have Tamika. Talk loud if you can.
Bianca Austin: (14:44)
Good morning you all. Good morning. It’s been 150 days, but it still feels like March 13th. It never gets any easier. And we just asked them and we got faith in the city that they would do the right thing. And we just want to appreciate everybody for all their support. That’s what gets us through and keeps us strong and keeps us moving. And I want everyone to continue to be out here on the streets helping us. You don’t have to be a protester to help. Get involved. Get involved in our community. I’m asking our community leaders to step up. It’s a lot of us. It’s a church on every corner. We need to take our city back so there won’t be any more names. We don’t need any more names. We don’t need another Breonna Taylor, David [Macaty 00:15:42]. Or Tyler Girth. We don’t need any more in our city. So it’s time for change. And as we reflect this 150 days since Breonna was murdered, we have gotten a lot accomplished and I’m not.
Bianca Austin: (16:03)
We have gotten a lot accomplished, and I’m not taking away from that, but there’s still a lot to be done. And I expect this city to step up. It’s time. We’re tired.
Ben Crump: (16:14)
Thank you so much, Bianca. 150 days, we hope that doesn’t turn into 200 days. Please give your attention to Breonna’s mother Tamika Palmer.
Tamika Palmer: (16:31)
150 days, five months. Yeah, every day is still March the 13th. Like Bianca said, there’s still a lot of work to do, because at this point, it’s bigger than Breonna. It’s bigger than just black lives. It’s about bridging the gaps between us and the police. It’s about bringing back the communities. It’s about just being able to stand up for each other, and there definitely shouldn’t be another Breonna Taylor anywhere. It’s definitely bigger than Breonna. Five months. I’m grateful to everybody. I’m grateful for the people who are saying her name. And the thing is, we can’t get discouraged about them, the police still trying to do these things to discourage the community, to … At this point, like she said, we’ve got to figure out how to fix the city, how to heal from here. Yeah.
Ben Crump: (18:01)
Thank you. Obviously this is very emotional on many levels. We will try to take your questions.
Speaker 1: (18:08)
[inaudible 00:02:12], we understand how [inaudible 00:18:14] not quite this magnitude, but as you inch closer and closer to that 200-day mark, do you feel more or less confident that those charges will come?
Ben Crump: (18:26)
Well, I absolutely expect there to be charges based on the evidence as Attorney Baker, and Attorney Aguilar, and I conferenced about this matter. It really speaks to why we should not have the police policing themselves, because we lost two months while we were letting them try to figure out how to justify the unjustifiable. And so now we’re waiting for ballistics tests over 150 days later? That should have been something that was seized upon the very minute they saw this innocent black woman lying dead in her apartment. And so, what we have to do is admit the wrongs that took place and try to address them, so it doesn’t happen again, nor does it happen in the aftermath. You all remember that police report, that joke. I mean, a two, three-page report?
Bianca Austin: (19:29)
A slap in the face.
Ben Crump: (19:30)
A slap in the face. Talking about there was no forced entry, talking about that there was nobody injured. How can you say that to this mother? And so, this is what we have to address, that we expect, hopefully before 200 days, charges to happen. Justice delayed is justice denied. Attorney Baker, may have?
Attorney Baker: (19:57)
[inaudible 00:19:57] on that one.
Speaker 2: (19:57)
[inaudible 00:20:04], do you see a greater [inaudible 00:19:57] request for policy for Breonna Taylor, request for [inaudible 00:20:14]. The longer this goes on, are you worried about how the media will react if we don’t see any charges?
Ben Crump: (20:20)
No, I’m not, and I’m going to have Attorney Baker who lives here in Louisville, also address that. But one of the things I think is so unfair is how they continue to try to criminalize these young people who just want equal justice, who just want equal justice under the law, because black lives matter. And they almost act like saying that is a sin. Why is that such a bad thing to say that black lives matter, based on the history that we have here in America, that we know we have a criminal justice system that undervalues black and brown lives?
Ben Crump: (21:07)
And so there hasn’t been anything that we believe that these young people have not did, other than do exactly what in the history of America people have done when they exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech. And I will, before I have attorney Baker … Why is it that when white men take over the Michigan statehouse with semiautomatic weapons, nobody pepper sprays them, nobody teargassed them, nobody shoots rubber bullets at them nobody calls out the National Guard on them, nobody is militarized to confront them, but when young black people start marching in the streets saying, “Black lives matter,” we treat them like criminals?
Ben Crump: (22:15)
And Charles Dickens talked about expectations in his book, Great Expectations. Why don’t we expect those young African American citizens to be able to exercise their constitutional rights and not have these negative expectations on them? I mean, we can’t have two Americas. We can’t have a justice system for black America, and a justice system for white America.
Ben Crump: (22:48)
And hopefully, Mayor Fischer will use his powerful pulpit, not just here as mayor of the city of Louisville, but as President of the United States Conference of Mayors to set the example for cities all across America, how you engage activism and protesters, not antagonized them. Work with them. Everybody can be part of the solution, if we’ve got responsible leadership.
Tamika Palmer: (23:23)
Speaker 3: (23:23)
Mr. Crump, what is your responder’s message to the city, and the protestors if all the officers are not prosecuted, if some of them are not prosecuted?
Ben Crump: (23:34)
Well, what we expect, and Attorney Baker really can go into this here, Attorney General Cameron told them he was doing a thorough job. We believe, based on the evidence, somebody should be held accountable for the death of Breonna Taylor. Now, we believe that if you violated policies and procedures that led to the execution, then you’re culpable to some degree.
Ben Crump: (24:03)
…to the execution, then you’re culpable to some degree. But he will decide in his office and the justice department. We don’t want to forget about them. As Sam Aguilar said, we need to make sure that they are actively looking at if there was any violations, constitutional violations, any civil rights violations here. But we believe that the people who caused her death should be held accountable, whether that’s two or four, somebody needs to be held accountable.
Speaker 4: (24:42)
Were two or four not … were there other [crosstalk 00:00:45].
Lanita Baker: (24:45)
I got it.
Ben Crump: (24:46)
Okay. Attorney Baker.
Lanita Baker: (24:47)
So, at this point, again, we’re still investigating. As you guys know, we’re still asking for information. There may be additional people. We don’t know. We’re not … we can’t call that out yet because we’re still waiting on the list of additional officers who were present. We’re still waiting on the ballistics reports to know who all fired weapons. So, we know the names because that’s what’s been released, but there may be additional information. But what we called on and what we’ve always called on, is any officer involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor, who is responsible, criminally responsible, be charged and presented to a jury, and that the jury make the determination. So yes, we want any officer involved … it may be two, it may be four, it may be more, we don’t know, but anyone who’s responsible through this investigation, we want held accountable.
Speaker 1: (25:36)
Ben Crump: (25:40)
Can’t hear you.
Speaker 1: (25:41)
Lanita Baker: (25:55)
Yes. We did. We talked about a number of things that need to be changed in order for … as Attorney Crump stated, for us to move forward and for there to be real healing, we have to have true change. We have to have other stakeholders at the table. As Ms. Palmer stated, this is bigger than Breonna Taylor. And so we talked about other ordinances that need to be passed. So, when we met with Mayor Fischer, is what can the city of Louisville do? He doesn’t have control over Attorney General Daniel Cameron. But what can the city of Louisville do? So, we know there’s additional ordinances that need to be changed. We know that the FOP contract needs to be changed. We know that other officers should be terminated at this point. Or at a minimum one of the officer can be terminated right now for lying on a search warrant.
Lanita Baker: (26:40)
So, those things that the city of Louisville can change, and within our community … there’s other stakeholders that need to be brought to the table for there to be true healing. And yes, we discussed that. And as attorney Crump stated, there was a positive dialogue there. So, now it’s to turn those conversations into true action. And we know that it has to be true action. This community isn’t going to accept anything less than true action. And I think that Mayor Fischer knows that, and we know that, the family of Breonna Taylor knows that, the community knows it. So, that’s what we’re working for. I’m born and raised here. I want to see Louisville come out much better on the other end of this.
Ben Crump: (27:19)
Yeah. And America-
Speaker 1: (27:21)
At this point would you say that someone has to be held accountable? At this point would you accept anything less than a murder charge?
Ben Crump: (27:27)
We going to have the evidence come out. In our heart, we believe Breonna Taylor was murdered. Her mother has never wavered nor vacillated that they murdered her daughter that night because she know her daughter. She know who her daughter is. Never had any criminal history. Never been arrested. Why is she executed by the police? That’s something that she still just can’t understand. She cannot wrap her mind around it. Her aunt was showing me pictures. They just can’t get it. And so, in our heart, we believe it’s murder, but that is something that Attorney General Cameron has to do.
Ben Crump: (28:21)
Now, will there be a reaction to the community? Yes. If nobody’s held accountable, we expect people to have an emotional reaction. But what we will hope is that the law works for Breonna like it works if it was a young white lady. We don’t want two justice systems in America and we know black women … and since I’ve gotten involved with this matter, I’ve been saying that black women don’t always get the same attention and recognition as even black men get when they’re killed by the police. Breonna’s life matters.
Ben Crump: (29:07)
Black women lives matter equally. And I’m just so proud of to Tamika Palmer with her dignity and grace trying to raise the platform to bring black women into this conversation when we talk about police execution and brutality of people of color, because oftentimes they have been left out of the conversation. But because of Breonna Taylor, that important conversation is finally being had in America. That’s why we continue to say, say her name. Say her name.
Speaker 5: (29:47)
Ms. Palmer, based on your conversation with Louisville [inaudible 00:05:52], is there anything he said to make you feel a little bit better about why it’s taking so long?
Tamika Palmer: (30:00)
Just that he wants to have the right answer at the end of this. So, he doesn’t want to rush through it. So, for me, I’m trying to accept that and be patient with that. Because I definitely want him to come out with the right answer.
Ben Crump: (30:17)
Okay. Any last questions? Thank you all. We’ll keep you informed.