He Hasn't Arrested Breonna Taylor's Killers, But He Spoke Her Name At The RNC

Viewers and activists were aghast that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron mentioned Breonna Taylor and spoke of Republicans' commitment to justice at the RNC, despite not charging the cops who killed her in her own home.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks during the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron speaks during the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.” It has become an activist refrain as months drag on while the officers who killed the 26-year-old in her own home have yet to be criminally charged. And the man with the power to directly address that call for justice spoke at Tuesday night’s Republican National Convention. He mentioned Taylor’s name, but offered nothing more. 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Taylor’s name while referencing a quote by General Dwight Eisenhower — without acknowledging who is at fault in her death, to the shock and disappointment of many.

In two nights of the RNC that have featured many brazenly untrue or misleading speeches and claims, AG Cameron’s appearance stood out as a particularly egregious example of political hypocrisy.

On the NowThis live fact-check of the night’s speeches, BlackPAC executive director Adrianne Shropshire said, “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor, AG Cameron, or sit down.”

Taylor, a licensed EMT, was shot and killed by police on March 13 after the officers forced their way inside her home with a no-knock search warrant in a drug investigation. In June, the Louisville mayor signed “Breonna’s Law” into effect, which bans no-knock warrants.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said on Tuesday just before AG Cameron spoke at the RNC that the investigation was taking too long, according to local news outlet WDRB.

“We still don’t have an answer or the facts in the Breonna Taylor case … and those that are weary [of the ongoing protests], imagine what that family must feel like having to wait this long,” Beshear said.

He added: “We at least need an explanation of what steps still need to be done on the process side.”

Cameron went on Fox News before the primetime convention appearance and said he is “await[ing] some key information from the FBI as it relates to a ballistics report.”

“Once we get that, we’ll be able to assess that information and then make conclusions from there,” he said, but he did not give a timeline for a decision. 

Also on Tuesday, 64 people in Louisville were arrested in protests demanding justice for Breonna. The social justice organization Until Freedom organized the protest. In July, the same group organized a sit-in behind AG Cameron’s house that resulted in 87 arrests, according to USA Today.

Cameron has heard calls for justice from a wide variety of people, from Taylor's family to Beyoncé. But he did not specifically mention protesters in his home state during his RNC speech, instead referencing “anarchists mindlessly tear[ing] up American cities while attacking police and innocent bystanders.”

“We Republicans do recognize those who work in good faith towards peace, justice, and equality,” he said, without acknowledging any peaceful protesters.

The fleeting manner in which Cameron mentioned Taylor’s name, and in combination with that of a retired police officer who was killed by a person looting a pawn shop in St. Louis, Missouri in June, left many stunned and baffled.

“It was General Dwight Eisenhower, a future Republican president, who said: ‘Democracy is a system that recognizes the equality of humans before the law.’ Whether you are the family of Breonna Taylor or David Dorn, these are the ideals that will heal our nation’s wounds,” Cameron said in his speech. “Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts, but neither will we accept this all-out assault on western civilization.”

The Louisville Metro Police Department claimed in March that the plainclothes officers, none of whom were wearing body cameras, announced themselves before entering the apartment. The cops then returned gunfire when Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who is a licensed gun owner, shot at them.

However, in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family, Taylor's mother Palmer said the officers did not identify themselves, and that Walker thought that someone was breaking into the home. Once the officers were inside, the suit says they proceeded to “spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life,” and shot Taylor at least eight times. The suit also says neither Taylor nor Walker have any criminal history of drugs or violence.

Related: Amy Sherald, Artist Behind Michelle Obama’s Portrait, Creates Breonna Taylor Painting