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Breonna Taylor's mom reflects 1 year after daughter's death

Tamika Palmer says she will "continue to fight" for accountability a year after her daughter was shot and killed by Louisville police officers.
/ Source: TODAY

Saturday marks a year since Breonna Taylor died at 26 when she was shot to death in her own apartment shortly before 1 a.m. by Louisville police officers serving a no-knock warrant.

Taylor's mother spoke on TODAY Wednesday about her continued fight for justice ahead of the painful one-year anniversary of her daughter's death.

"I don't even know the difference in the days anymore," her mother, Tamika Palmer, told Blayne Alexander on TODAY.

One of the three Louisville officers involved in the shooting has been indicted, but it was not for any of the shots that killed Taylor. Brett Hankison, who was fired from the department in June 2020, was indicted by a grand jury in September on three counts of wanton endangerment for the shots he fired that went into a neighbor's wall.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in September that the shooting was justified because Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the officers first. Walker said the officers never announced themselves, and he thought it was a home invasion.

Walker was charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer for shooting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly after the officers burst into the apartment. On Monday, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens dismissed the charges with prejudice, meaning Walker cannot be recharged, which Palmer told Alexander was "long overdue."

Taylor's name was frequently invoked as a symbol of injustice and a rallying cry during protests against police brutality last summer following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Palmer was heartened to see her daughter's memory honored by people across the country.

"Eternally grateful," she said. "So many people who never even met her, but they learned of her and they — they came to stand for her because what happened to her wasn't right. I could never say thank you enough."

A federal investigation into Taylor's death remains ongoing, but her death has led to some concrete change. The Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed Breonna's Law in June banning no-knock warrants, a controversial practice that gives police the authority to enter a home without announcing themselves. The law passed in Louisville but not statewide.

Palmer's focus has not wavered in the year since her daughter's death. She and her family reached a $12 million settlement with the city of Louisville in September 2020, but her main focus is wanting to see someone be held accountable for her daughter's death.

"Just to know who Breonna was — she didn't deserve that," Palmer said. "And so I've always felt like I've had one job: It was to protect my kids. And so, how do you not continue to fight?"