RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The national protests after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd in May sounded like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS #1: (Chanting) George Floyd. Say his name. George Floyd. Say his name. George Floyd. Say his name.
MARTIN: There was another name in those chants, too, one that had, until that moment, not been part of the public movement against police violence.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS #2: (Chanting) Breonna Taylor. Say her name. Breonna Taylor. Say her name. Breonna Taylor. Say her name.
MARTIN: Breonna Taylor was 26 years old. She was an emergency room technician in Louisville, Ky. On March 13, police entered her home with a no-knock warrant. They shot and killed her. Six months after her death, just one of the officers involved in the shooting has been fired, and there have been no charges. This month, the city did agree to settle a wrongful death suit, with $12 million settlement paid to Taylor's family. But the family says that is not what real justice looks like.
Kentucky's attorney general and the FBI have been investigating the circumstances of Taylor's killing, and the results of that investigation are expected soon. Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, joins us now along with her lawyer, Lonita Baker. Thank you for being with us.
TAMIKA PALMER: No problem.
LONITA BAKER: Thank you for having us.
MARTIN: First, Tamika, I am just very sorry for your loss. And I know every time you have to have a conversation about it, it brings up new pain. So we appreciate that you joined us this morning.
PALMER: Thank you.
MARTIN: The settlement that you received from the city of Louisville also included the promise of police reforms. And the Louisville mayor has said that no-knock search warrants would now require approval from the police chief. And there were also other reforms, including encouraging police to live where they serve. Are you satisfied with that?
PALMER: I believe that - well, first off, if the police live in these communities that they're policing, they are - they - you know, they will get to know the people in those communities. They will get to understand these people better or, you know, get out and communicate with these people. And I think a lot of the reform stuff that was included, had we had those practices in play already, a lot of things could have been avoided that happened with Breonna.
MARTIN: Lonita, if I could put a question to you, does this settlement take the pressure off Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office to bring criminal charges against the police?
BAKER: No, it does not. And it's important that people understand that the settlement of the civil case involving the officers is completely different from that of the criminal case. The proof that will be needed in court is completely different. The burden of proof - so the amount of evidence that you have to have to prove the civil case or the wrongful death claims included in the lawsuit are completely different from the criminal case. So settling the civil suit has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case. And as Tamika said, you know, we're continuing to apply pressure to Daniel Cameron to indict the officers that were involved in Breonna's death.
MARTIN: We could hear the results of the attorney general's investigation as early as today. Have you been given, Tamika, any indication as to what the results are? Or what are you expecting to hear?
PALMER: No, I haven't been given anything. But I'm hoping that - to hear that there will be charges, that these people will be fired and arrested.
MARTIN: Do you think enough attention was paid to this case from the beginning?
PALMER: Well, when it very first started out, absolutely not. And for months, people didn't - they didn't know. And people started really hearing about this story in May. And so many people by May - they were upset. You know, they're thinking that this thing just happened. But it happened in March, and they - it was swept under the rug where, in my opinion, they would have hoped that it would have stayed.
MARTIN: Mm hmm.
Can you talk a little bit about your daughter? She is now someone whose name is synonymous with this movement against police brutality, police violence against Black Americans. Tell us about her, if you could.
PALMER: She just - you know, Breonna was a beautiful person inside and out. And she was just a big person, a - you know, that wanted to lift other people up and would do anything to help anybody around her. And just even in the very beginning of this year, she kept saying 2020 was her year. And she was absolutely right. I hate that it came in that form, but it definitely is her year.
MARTIN: When you see people out on the streets in protests carrying Breonna's picture, yelling her name like a rallying cry, what goes through your mind?
PALMER: It's amazing - the love, the support. So many of these people don't even know her personally. I mean, they've learned her through me. They've learned her through all of us. Just that she was able to bring these people together - and all different people - you know, it's white people, Black people, Hispanic - it's just so many different people of so many other races willing to stand up for her and what happened to her.
And that's - even before this, that's the type of person she was. She would - she could bring people together without a - I mean, just in a heartbeat. And people loved to be around her and loved her laugh and her smile, her spirit.
MARTIN: If the investigation ends and there are no charges, what's the next step for you?
PALMER: I won't go away. I'll still fight.
MARTIN: Tamika Palmer is the mother of Breonna Taylor. She was also joined by Lonita Baker, her legal representative.
Thank you so much for taking the time.
PALMER: Thank you.
BAKER: Thank you.
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