President Donald Trump praised Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s ‘fantastic’ handling of the Breonna Taylor case after a grand jury indicted a single officer in connection with her killing.
Trump called Cameron ‘really brilliant’ and a ‘star’ when asked about the result of the attorney general’s investigation on Wednesday afternoon.
It came after Cameron announced that fired officer Brett Hankison had been indicted on three charges of wanton endangerment for the no-knock raid that killed 26-year-old Taylor on March 13.
The charges related to Hankison shooting into the homes of Taylor’s neighbors, not her death. The other two officers involved in the raid were not charged.
The grand jury decision was met with immediate backlash as hundreds of protesters began marching through downtown Louisville and clashing with police.
Trump, who has repeatedly railed against Black Lives Matter protesters, applauded Kentucky Gov Andy Beshear’s decision to deploy the National Guard as tensions mounted in the city.
President Donald Trump (left) praised Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (right) for his ‘fantastic’ handling of the Breonna Taylor case at a press conference on Wednesday after a grand jury indicted a single officer in connection with her killing
The president’s press conference came to an abrupt end when he said he had to take an ’emergency phone call’ as a reporters tried to ask him more questions about the Taylor case.
‘Mr. President, just one more question if I can about Breonna Taylor. People are protesting in the streets. What is your message to that?’ a reporter asked right before Trump walked out.
Trump briefly addressed the case earlier in the afternoon, but punted when asked if he believed justice had been served.
The president spoke instead about his own record – once again comparing it to Abraham Lincoln’s – and said he would comment on the case later.
A reporter had asked Trump: ‘Do you believe that justice was served in he Breonna Taylor case in Kentucky, and what is your message to the black community who believe that perhaps justice was not served by the decision which was rendered by the decision that was rendered by the grand jury in Kentucky?’
He responded: ‘Well, my message is that I love the black community. And I’ve done more for the black community than any other president. And I say, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,’ Trump said, before rattling off accomplishments, some of which built on existing programs or included Democratic buy-in.
‘And mean that with opportunities zones and with criminal justice reform, with prison reform, with what we’ve done for historically black universities, colleges, schools, what we’ve done – nobody has done more.
‘Abraham Lincoln, let’s give him the nod, but beyond that, nobody’s done more. I love the black community.’
He steered clear of any substantive language on the verdict itself, as authorities in Louisville declared a curfew and lined the streets to quell unrest.
‘I don’t know enough about it. I heard the decision was just made. We’ve been together here, and so we haven’t discussed it. But after I see what the decision is, I will have a comment on it,’ Trump said.
Fired officer Brett Hankison (left) was indicted on three charges of wanton endangerment for the no-knock raid that killed 26-year-old Taylor (right) on March 13
The grand jury decision was met with immediate backlash as hundreds of protesters began marching through downtown Louisville and clashing with police
Rival Joe Biden made similarly vague remarks when asked about the grand jury decision on a tarmac in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Democratic presidential nominee claimed he hadn’t received enough information to comment fully but said: ‘My heart goes out to [Taylor’s] mother.’
He also urged protesters to keep their demonstrations peaceful.
‘Do not sully her memory or her mother’s by engaging in any violence. It’s totally inappropriate for that to happen,’ Biden said. ‘She wouldn’t want it, nor would her mother, so I hope they do that.’
Biden’s running mate, Sen Kamala Harris, also declined to share her opinion on the indictment.
‘I haven’t read it fully yet, but there’s no question that Breonna Taylor and her family deserve justice yesterday, today and tomorrow so I’ll review it,’ said the Senate Judiciary Committee member.
Harris tweeted back in June: ‘The officers who murdered Breonna Taylor nearly three months ago still have not been charged. We can’t forget about Black women in our quest for justice.’
Joe Biden made vague remarks when asked about the grand jury decision on a tarmac in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday evening (pictured)
Kamala Harris also declined to offer her opinion on the indictment, saying: ‘I haven’t read it fully yet, but there’s no question that Breonna Taylor and her family deserve justice yesterday, today and tomorrow so I’ll review it’
Discussing the findings of his four-month investigation, Cameron said officers were not serving a no-knock warrant, and cited a witness who said the officers identified themselves when they broke down Taylor’s door.
He also said Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who were not charged, were ‘justified’ in returning fire ‘to protect themselves’ when Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them.
In the Capitol, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued expansive comments that took about the outcome, saying that the ‘system’ failed Taylor, as well as the ‘entire community’.
‘I think that her family deserves so much more…it’s just weighing really heavy on my heart, and because we know that her death is not just the result of one person but the system, structure, and department that failed their entire community,’ the first-term lawmaker said.
‘And you know, we know that this fight to prevent deaths like hers is going to be so much broader in terms of the systemic change, the political change,’ she added.
‘We’re talking about an essential worker, a young woman that had her whole life in front of her, that served her community as an EMT, that her job was to save lives. And it wasn’t one person that you know, knocked down her door and entered in the wrong apartment and was responsible for her death.
‘So my heart breaks for her family because we know that her death is the result of something much bigger than just one person, but we also, we fight and will continue to fight to not just in her memory but in order to prevent this from happening.’
‘I think that her family deserves so much more,’ said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after the charges