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Family, lawyers say social media played major role in bringing Breonna Taylor case to light

Updated: May. 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Breonna Taylor's family and lawyers said people often aren't made aware of accusations of police injustices against minorities until weeks or months after they happen.

Such cases frequently become well-known on social media before hitting the main stream, attorney Ben Crump said.

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Crump is the high-profile lawyer representing Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old woman who was shot dead in March when LMPD officers serving a warrant at her apartment engaged in a shootout with her boyfriend, who was also inside the apartment.

Crump called Taylor’s death the result of a “botched execution of a search warrant.” LMPD officials said they were serving a warrant related to a drug trafficking investigation when the shootout began.

Crump also said Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and sister, Ju’Niyah, fought for two months for Louisville to know her name. Crump said it shouldn’t take months or a viral post on social media for a victim’s story to be known.

Ju’Niyah posts frequently on her Facebook page about the violent encounter that killed her older sister.

It was just a few days ago that her case became widely known in her city, and now, nationally. Her mother Tamika Palmer said it was a relief.

“She was simply amazing,” Palmer said. “I want people to know that she loved life.”

The family said they reached out to activists like Shaun King to help spread the word. He’s known for bringing attention to alleged police brutality. Since then other activists like Al Sharpton have followed the case, and the family said they feel like they have a voice, but it shouldn’t have taken a two-month fight.

“How can we not have a public outcry for justice?” Crump asked.

Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery, cases that took weeks to garner attention and grab a national outcry that Crump said helped lead to legal action. He said that’s the same plan for Taylor.

“We talked about the need for this case to get attention from everybody, not just Louisville, because this was a tragedy that has national implications,” Crump said. “When you think about the issues of police brutality against people of color, most of the time, attention is just paid to young black men when they’re killed by police, but we should pay just as much attention when it’s black women.”

On Mother’s Day, LMPD’s Facebook page was filled with comments in support of Taylor and her family. They said they never thought they’d see Breonna’s name added to the #sayhername list.

“My sister shouldn’t have to be a hashtag,” Ju’Niyah said. “My sister should still be here.”

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