Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, sat down with Vanity Fair to discuss her daughter’s life and the movement her slaying sparked.
The interview with Palmer will be featured in the September 2020 issue of Vanity Fair. In the piece, Palmer reveals how she found out about her daughter’s death.
“Kenny calls me in the middle of the night. He says, ‘Somebody kicked in the door and shot Breonna,’” Palmer recalled. “I am dead asleep. I don’t know what he’s talking about. I jump up. I get ready, and I rush over to her house. When I get there, the street’s just flooded with police — it’s a million of them.”
Taylor died on March 13 after officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department stormed her apartment shortly after midnight. The officers were there to execute a warrant for a suspect who lived on the other side of town and was already in custody.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired a warning shot as the door was breached because he thought their home was being burglarized. The LMPD officers responded with a hail of gunfire. Walker was not harmed but Taylor was hit eight times. A lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family later revealed she did not receive any aid while she was dying on the floor of her apartment.
No one has been charged for Taylor’s death. Walker was charged with attempted murder because his shot hit an officer. The charges were later dropped.
In the Vanity Fair interview, Palmer claimed she did not find out the police were responsible for Taylor’s death until she heard it on the news.
“It is probably the next day. Someone texts me and says, ‘Did you see the news?’ Of course, I didn’t see the news. I didn’t know nothing about it. I watch everything on my iPad. I Google the news station and then I watch the story,” Palmer said.
“And I am like, ‘Why would they ask if somebody wanted to hurt her?’ Now I’m confused,” she continued. “Because you asked me whether I knew someone who wanted to hurt my daughter. But you did it. Why couldn’t you have just told me that the police did this?”
Palmer also revealed she did not see her daughter’s body until the funeral home called her for a viewing.
“The funeral home calls me when they get her body. The police never let me see her. They aren’t talking to me. It’s after midnight when I get the call. And they say I can come see her,” she said.
“Everybody is with me. My whole family — my four sisters, my dad, my daughter Juniyah, my sister’s boyfriend, my boyfriend, the kids, a couple of close friends,” Palmer recalled. “Nobody wants to be left out. And when we see her body, it’s just tears and screams. I walk out the home because everybody is just crying. And I am just so pissed off that she is lying there.”
Taylor’s death was not the only topic. Her mother also talked about her daughter’s personality and aspirations. She wanted to be a nurse and to start a family with Walker, who planned to propose. Palmer considered her daughter “the family glue.”
The mother of two admitted she was shocked when her daughter’s death got attention months after her death.
“I just can’t believe it. I felt like with the whole pandemic, Breonna would be forgotten, and we would just get swept under the rug,” Palmer said.
“And how do I feel then? Like, my God, somebody heard me. Like I finally caught my breath. That’s how I feel. Like I finally caught my breath.”
A “massive demonstration” is scheduled to occur in Louisville on Monday, reported The Courier Journal. It is the last event of BreonnaCon, a four-day series of functions that included empowerment seminars and a “Bre-B-Q,” which is a spin on a barbeque. BreonnaCon was organized by Until Freedom, a New York-based social justice organization co-founded by Tamika Mallory. The group has been in Kentucky for a month to seek justice for Taylor.