Breonna Taylor’s relatives say they were removed from trial because their clothes showed her face 

Breonna Taylor's sister and mother were reportedly asked to leave the trial of former Louisville officer Brett Hankison for what they wore.

Family members of Breonna Taylor attending the criminal trial of former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison say they were asked to leave the Jefferson County Judicial Center Thursday because they were wearing clothing emblazoned with their slain relative’s face, according to WFPL.

Hankison has been charged with three counts of felony wanton endangerment for bullets that entered neighboring residences when he, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and now-former detective Myles Cosgrove burst into Taylor’s apartment using a no-knock warrant in March 2020. None was charged with killing Taylor, who was shot eight times after they drew gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend; he believed an intruder was breaking in. 

Pictured is the back of the jacket worn by Tamika Palmer, the mother of Louisville police shooting victim Breonna Taylor, to court Wednesday. It reportedly got her removed from the trial of Brett Hankison. (Photo: Screenshot/Instagram)

Ju’Niyah Palmer, Taylor’s younger sister, posted on Instagram Thursday that she and her mother, Tamika Palmer, were “kicked out and escorted out of the courthouse.” Her mom was wearing a custom letterman jacket emblazoned with a photo of Taylor and other patches and words honoring her. “Sheriff Anothey Goffner touched her jacket and said ‘this isn’t accepted.’ My mom then asked was there a dress code for court and he kept ignoring us.”

According to WFPL, one of their reporters observed a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy asking Ju’Niyah Palmer to leave the courtroom and to remove a tie-dye hood that featured a photo of Taylor’s face and “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” printed on the front.

“I cried because it hurt my feelings,” she later said in an Instagram post. “I am not hurting anybody by voice [sic] my opinion on my shirt.”

The report says that she was allowed to return to the courtroom when she removed the sweatshirt. 

Judge Ann Bailey Smith, who is presiding over the Hankison trial, has not commented on the clothing issues, nor have other authorities. 

As for Taylor’s family, they are encouraging supporters to come to the downtown Louisville courthouse wearing “Breonna gear.” 

“There is no reason we can’t wear anything pertaining to her if y’all keep preaching this trial isn’t about her,” Breonna Taylor’s sister said.

Their feelings that the current case is about their late loved one are in direct conflict with what the prosecutors and defense are saying. Assistant Kentucky Attorney General Barbara Whaley stated as much during opening arguments.

“This is not a case about the search warrant for Breonna Taylor’s apartment,” Whaley said, per WFPL. “This is not a case about the Louisville Metro Police Department as to whether there needs to be reform or more support for officers who put their lives on the line every day. This is not that case.”

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