Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron appears to dodge Breonna Taylor questions during podcast
During an interview on 'Outloud With Gianno Caldwell,' Cameron was asked what he thinks justice looks like for Taylor and her family
As Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron has become something of an infamous political figure connected to one of the most tragic police shooting cases in recent times.
Cameron, who has remained, at best, cautious but largely dubious regarding the details surrounding the police killing of Breonna Taylor, appeared to duck questions surrounding the officers’ role in the young woman’s death and the accusations of lying to the grand jury.
Cameron was a guest this week on Outloud With Gianno Caldwell, with the host noting the pair’s friendship at the onset of the interview. Caldwell, one of the more visible Black conservative pundits working today, opened the episode with praise for Cameron, mentioning that he is the first Republican attorney general elected in Kentucky in over seven decades, and the first African American independently elected to statewide office in the state’s history.
After playing a clip of activist Tamika Mallory’s comments in where she referred to Cameron largely as a “sell-out,” Caldwell shifted focus and gave him a soft setup to address the Taylor shooting case. He also characterized Cameron as a victim of threats and ridicule from the Black community in relation to the matter.
“It has been a difficult period, and I don’t want to look at it from my perspective,” said Cameron. “A young lady in the prime of her life, Breonna Taylor, lost her life and, as I’ve said repeatedly, that is a tragedy.”
Cameron artfully mentioned how the tragedy has ripped apart Kentucky but also the nation, while naming Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, who is still mourning the loss of her 26-year-old daughter. However, Cameron’s compassion would not cause him to waver on his office’s opinion that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the police who burst into her home that fateful day.
Sticking to the well-oiled statements from officers on the scene, Cameron detailed the events leading up to the March 13 shooting, which was preceded by a search warrant of the home of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who shot his registered firearm at the direction of the officers who he says did not identify themselves as law enforcement.
Cameron, as he’s done prior, defended the actions of the officers, but failed to address Walker’s claims that the officers barged into the home and fired the errant shots that killed Taylor as she slept.
“I’ve said from the beginning. Sometimes, the criminal system is inadequate to respond to a tragedy and that’s certainly the case here,” Cameron said. “But that doesn’t mean I cannot dispense with my responsibility and role as the chief law enforcement officer and I hope people over time recognize that.”
Cameron said that his office is confident in its pursuit of the case of former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison, who faces three counts of wanton endangerment. Hankison has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Caldwell pivoted to asking Cameron about what justice would look like for Taylor and her family as the nation watches on. Cameron was careful in his answer, but much of his repeated public stances remained intact. What was alarming is Cameron seemingly suggesting that the $12 million settlement given to the family by the city of Louisville was something of a healing salve.
“Obviously, they have had a pretty large settlement with the city of Louisville. But again, my responsibility is to the facts and the law and this is a very hard and challenging case,” Cameron replied, not exactly framing what justice for Taylor’s family will look like.
Cameron ended his answer by once more deferring to the FBI’s investigation of any civil rights violations but failed to offer an alternative to best honor the life and legacy of Breonna Taylor.
In regard to accusations of his office misleading the public during the grand jury deliberation, Cameron maintained that his office operated within the confines of the law. Stating that his office recommended the charges for Detective Hankison and declining to comment further on his criminal case, Cameron repeated that the prosecution pursued the charges put forth based on the evidence they had.
Addressing the elephant in the room, Caldwell asked Cameron about the perception that police officers have treated Black citizens unjustly in comparison to their white counterparts, a key argument in the ongoing police reform debate. Cameron, again, deftly answered the question but doing so in a manner that some could see as noncommittal.
“In the AG’s office, we want to be part of that dialogue, as a Black man, I want to be a part of that dialogue,“ Cameron said. “Again, I don’t know anybody who comes to these conversations in good faith that doesn’t want to significant conversation about equality.”
Cameron’s answer during this point is notably curious if one recalls that he was one of several Black figures who championed President Donald Trump, who has been challenged on his own views on race and gender.
Cameron then harkened back to the tragic deaths of George Floyd and other related instances, but still didn’t fully address the growing chants of defunding the police.
“Peaceful protest is appropriate. Where you don’t want to go is, in where some of these peaceful protests can be undermined when violence starts to bleed [into peaceful protests],” Cameron added.
Once more, Cameron failed to address Caldwell’s questions regarding the growing dissent between Black America and law enforcement but did acknowledge he’s ready to have tough conversations about race and policing despite still having Taylor’s case looming heavily over the state of Kentucky.
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