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Breonna Taylor's mother on her legacy and 'Breonna's Law' banning no-knock warrants

Breonna Taylor's mother and sister spoke about her becoming a symbol at protests worldwide and the change in the law she has inspired.
/ Source: TODAY

Breonna Taylor's name has not only become a rallying cry at protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the world, it also has now become a symbol of concrete change in her Kentucky hometown.

Her mother and sister spoke with Sheinelle Jones on TODAY after the Louisville Metro Council unanimously voted on Thursday night to pass a ban on no-knock warrants in a measure known as "Breonna's Law." The warrants are a controversial practice that give police the authority to enter a home without announcing themselves.

Taylor, 26, was an emergency medical technician who was shot and killed in what her family says was a botched police raid on her home in March.

"It's amazing that people are listening, that people are saying her name and learning who she was," her mother, Tamika Palmer, said on TODAY.

"Now that everyone knows her name, it does bring comfort because we don't have to fight alone,'' her sister, Juniyah Palmer, told Sheinelle. "It's everybody fighting for her."

The outrage over the death of George Floyd last month in Minneapolis police custody has renewed interest in Taylor's case. Her name has been invoked at protests worldwide and by everyone from Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to Alicia Keys when highlighting racial injustice.

Her mother and sister have continued to mourn the loss of a woman who saved lives as an EMT and emergency room technician.

"It just never stops," Tamika Palmer said. "But it's those moments when it's quiet, it becomes extremely loud in my head. I just never imagined life without her.

"It doesn't feel real. I'm still waiting for her to come through that door."

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep in her apartment on March 13 when three police officers in plain clothes with a no-knock search warrant burst through the door as part of a drug investigation.

Lawyers for Taylor's family say the couple was startled after the officers banged on the door and entered without announcing themselves.

"Breonna wasn't involved in any drug activity, so they had no reason to be at her apartment that night," the family's attorney, Lonita Baker, said on TODAY.

Walker said he thought it was a home invasion, so he opened fire with a licensed handgun, shooting an officer he thought was an intruder. The Louisville police said the officers forced entry and were immediately met by gunfire.

"Kenny and the seven other neighbors that live there say that nobody heard them announce themselves," Tamika Palmer said. "They did not announce themselves. Kenny called the police. If you say you're the police, I'm not going to call the police."

The three officers returned fire, hitting Taylor eight times and killing her. Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault, but all of the charges were dropped.

The three officers involved her death have been placed on administrative reassignment along with a fourth officer who applied for the no-knock warrant. Taylor's family is calling for them to be arrested and criminally charged.

A police report released more than three months after the shooting is mostly blank, claiming there was no forced entry and listing Taylor's injuries as "none."

The new "Breonna's Law" still needs to be approved by Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, who wrote on Twitter Thursday that he will be signing "as soon as it hits my desk." Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced the "Justice for Breonna Act" in the U.S. Senate, which calls for a nationwide ban on no-knock warrants.

"Breonna worked to save lives while she was alive and now Breonna’s Law will save lives forever," Tamika Palmer said. "I knew she was destined for greatness. She's showing it."