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Breonna Taylor’s family, justice groups launch campaign against Cameron’s bid for Ky. governor

 Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, speaks out against Attorney General Daniel Cameron at a press confere
Danielle Kaye
/
LPM
Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, speaks out against Attorney General Daniel Cameron at a press conference on June 5, 2023.

Breonna Taylor’s mother joined local and national social justice organizations on Monday to launch a statewide campaign against Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s bid to become governor of Kentucky.

The voter engagement campaign, announced on what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 30th birthday, is fueled in part by Cameron’s handling of the investigation into Taylor’s killing at the hands of Louisville Metro Police Department.

Cameron drew controversy for failing to indict LMPD officers for killing 26-year-old Taylor, a Black woman, in a March 2020 fatal raid that galvanized racial justice protests nationwide. Police stormed her home while serving a “no-knock” warrant at night while she was sleeping.

Following recommendations from Cameron’s office, a Louisville grand jury indicted an LMPD detective on three counts of wanton endangerment in 2020. But no officers were charged directly in Taylor’s death. Cameron's office only recommended charges for bullets fired into a neighboring apartment.

“We didn’t decide that Daniel Cameron didn’t matter – he decided that we didn’t matter,” said Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, at a Jefferson Square Park press conference. “He decided that Breonna didn’t deserve justice.”

In August, the Department of Justice brought federal charges, including obstruction and civil rights violations, against four officers involved in Taylor’s death – adding to scrutiny of Cameron’s failure to bring charges in connection to Taylor’s killing.

Cameron, who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear in this year’s gubernatorial election. He is finishing his first term as Kentucky’s attorney general and previously worked as a lawyer for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who encouraged him to run for the state's top law enforcement job in 2019.

Social justice organization Until Freedom is spearheading the new campaign against Cameron. Co-founder Linda Sarsour said Until Freedom will open offices in Louisville and Lexington to knock on doors and reach voters ahead of the November election.

Along with Cameron’s handling of Taylor’s killing, Sarsour also condemned his stances on issues ranging from gun control to abortion rights.

Cameron has repeatedly refused to support gun safety measures, even in the wake of the mass shooting at Old National Bank in Louisville in April. He has defended Kentucky’s near-total ban on abortion and won a ruling allowing the ban to stay in effect until a lawsuit over it is resolved.

“If Daniel Cameron becomes the governor of Kentucky, it will set a bad precedent across the country,” Sarsour said at the press conference. “And so all eyes on you, Kentucky.”

When asked about his handling of the Breonna Taylor case at a GOP gubernatorial debate on May 9, Cameron doubled down on his position that his office was only tasked with investigating what happened at Taylor’s apartment on the night she was killed – rather than looking at the totality of the case, including how LMPD officers obtained the warrant.

“My obligation is to follow the law, no matter what – even when protestors show up on my lawn,” Cameron told LPM in a statement, when asked about his investigation into Taylor’s killing. “Unlike Andy Beshear, I’ll never abandon the law or our cops for political purposes.”

A recent survey by a Republican polling firm shows Cameron and Beshear neck-and-neck in the race for governor, five months out from the General Election.

Tamika Mallory, another co-founder of Until Freedom, said the campaign against Cameron will continue to organize up until the Nov. 7 General Election.

“There will be a strategy around making sure that people … can go out and knock on every door, at least in Lexington and in Louisville, to stop this man from becoming governor,” Mallory said.