Breonna Taylor’s mother and sister were removed from former Louisville Metro Police Detective Brett Hankison’s wanton endangerment trial this week. The two women were kicked out because they wore the slain woman’s image on their clothing while sitting in the courtroom this week.
Hankison is not charged with Taylor’s slaying, but since he was one of the three officers involved in the 2020 slaying of their 26-year-old loved one, they wanted to be present at his trial.
The ex-cop has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shots that went through Taylor’s wall and entered a neighbor’s apartment as he and his two partners on the scene fired a barrage of gunfire in the fatal search warrant execution.
Juniyah Palmer, Taylor’s sister, took to social media to tell the public that they were plucked from the trial at the Jefferson County Judicial Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a post on Instagram on Wednesday, Feb. 23, she held a brightly colored shirt that said “Arrest the Cops who Killed Breonna Taylor,” while standing in a corridor outside the courtroom door.
At the top of the photograph, she explains what happened, “Today, I was kicked out of court for wearing my sister’s sweatshirt. I cried because it hurt my feelings because why can’t I wear this, I am not hurting anybody by voice my opinion on my shirt. Jefferson County is full of [emoji].”
She further stated that she believed that her ejection was not “fair.”
The next day, Taylor’s mother was asked to leave, but was moved out of the courthouse building, not just the courtroom.
“She was walked outside of the entire building, nine floors and out,” Brian Buckmire, who captured the images, said in a segment for Law & Crime. “She told us that she was asked to leave because this would affect the jurors and create some type of bias.”
Buckmire recalled Palmer saying, “I’m going to take the jacket off … I don’t need to wear it. Is that ok?” The courtroom sheriff brought the request to the judge who confirmed Breonna’s mother needed to be removed and summarily escorted out the building. “She wasn’t even allowed to leave on her own,” he added.
Tamika Palmer was escorted out of the courtroom for wearing a customized varsity jacket by Regames Klothing that bore an artistic rendering of her daughter Breonna on the front and back with the slogan ”Say her name.”
Juniyah Palmer posted of the second incident, captioning the post, “DAY 2! Today we have been kicked out and escorted out of the hall of justice!”
Juniyah said a bailiff physically touched her mother’s jacket and told them the attire was not acceptable in the court. The post said the mother asked for the dress code but was “ignored.”
In a statement to WHAS 11, Bob McClure, staff attorney for Judge Ann Bailey Smith, wrote, “The relevant ‘dress code’ for spectators in the courtroom is that no one should wear any attire or display any object that is so inherently prejudicial that it would deprive the defendant of a fair trial.”
McClure said the judge relies on sheriff’s deputies to monitor the courtroom in efforts to make sure these rules are adhered to. He further noted that the family members were not barred from the proceedings and were able to return to the court.
During the March 13, 2020, no-knock raid that took her life, three officers from the Louisville Police Department shot furiously into a room in the apartment after Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, fired one round from his legally owned handgun at the front door as the three officers breached it. He was unaware that the uninvited visitors were police.
Mattingly, Hankison, and detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire after Walker’s one shot hit former LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in his thigh.
In the responding fusillade the three cops blasted 32 shots. One fired by Cosgrove was determined by the FBI to be the fatal shot. Walker, who was standing in the apartment hallway with Taylor when the shooting started, was uninjured in the shooting.
Authorities say at least one Hankison shot went through the wall and entered a neighbor’s apartment. Three people, including a child, were present inside of the domicile
Hankison is the only officer charged in connection to the Taylor case.
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