LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Breonna Taylor’s mother has called on President-elect Joe Biden to open large-scale federal investigations into the death of her daughter and other Black Americans killed by police.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Tamika Palmer wrote in a full-page ad in Tuesday’s Washington Post. “We need your actions to show that you are different than those who pay lip service to our losses while doing nothing to show that our loved ones’ lives mattered.”
Taylor, 26, was fatally shot March 13 by Louisville Metro Police officers as they attempted to serve a search warrant at her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, as part of a larger narcotics investigation.
Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired one shot as police used a battering ram to break in the apartment’s front door, reportedly striking Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. In return, Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove and now-former Detective Brett Hankison fired 32 rounds, killing Taylor. No officer has been charged in her death.
Taylor’s slaying — and the subsequent decision not to charge the officers who shot her — has ignited protests across America, which Palmer notes in her letter.
The Biden campaign’s “stated commitment to prioritize police accountability” prompted people to vote for the president-elect, Palmer wrote.
Now, these voters want to see his administration act, she said.
Palmer outlined steps she wants to see taken:
Appointing Department of Justice officials with a “proven record of holding police accountable.”
Ordering the DOJ to re-open investigations into police violence “not properly completed” during the Trump administration.
Ordering “large-scale federal investigations” into police shootings like that of Taylor, Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and Casey Goodson in Ohio.
Launching “robust pattern and practice investigations” into police departments across the country that are “known to cause harm.”
The website calls on Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to do “everything in its power to bring about deep systemic change on criminal, legal and racial justice” and encourages visitors to sign on to the letter.
“The people, families, and communities most harmed by all of the systems and structures of mass incarceration are also the voters that elected you,” the website’s letter says. “You have promised them that you would do right by them, and we intend to work to hold you accountable for each and every one of those promises.”
So far, more than 108,000 people have signed, including the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile and Atatiana Jefferson. Castile and Jefferson were fatally shot by police, and Arbery was shot by white men who followed him as he was jogging.
On the Biden-Harris transition website, the incoming administration says it will work with Congress to pass reforms including a national ban on chokeholds, improving oversight and accountability and creating a national police oversight commission.
During the presidential campaign, Biden called for the officers connected to Taylor’s death to be charged for their actions, and Harris pushed for a federal investigation into Taylor’s death and Louisville police as a whole.
The transition team did not immediately return a request for comment from the Louisville Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
‘He’s still breathing’: New body camera footage shows moments after Ahmaud Arbery shooting
Their siblings were killed by police. Now these Black women are demanding justice.
In Palmer’s letter to Biden, she notes the two spoke earlier this year, and that he assured Palmer he was “committed to justice for Breonna.”
“Nothing can bring back my daughter, or the other individuals whose lives were senselessly harmed or lost to police violence,” Palmer wrote. “We can, however, honor their legacies by holding police accountable and bringing deep change to a truly unjust system.”
“We fought for you,” Palmer wrote in closing. “It is now your turn to fight for us.”
Follow Tessa Duvall Twitter: @TessaDuvall.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Breonna Taylor’s mom to Biden: Keep your word to hold cops accountable