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Breonna Taylor's sister, mother removed from former LMPD officer's trial

Juniyah Palmer said she and Breonna's mother, Tamika Palmer, were removed from Brett Hankison's trial this week for wearing shirts with Taylor's image.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Breonna Taylor's family members said they were removed from a Jefferson County courtroom where former Louisville Metro Police Detective Brett Hankison's wanton endangerment trial was taking place. 

On social media, Juniyah Palmer said she and her mother, Tamika Palmer, were told to leave the courtroom for wearing a shirt and jacket with Breonna's image and name featured on it.

"I was kicked out of court for wearing my sister sweatshirt," Juniyah Palmer, Taylor's sister, said in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

"I cried because it hurt my feelings because why can't I wear this, I am not hurting anybody by voice my opinion on my shirt," Juniyah Palmer said on social media.

Juniyah Palmer said that Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, was also escorted out of the courtroom on the second day of the trial for wearing a jacket with her late daughter's image.

It featured Taylor's face on the front and back, with a prominent 'B' along the chest, and the date of Taylor's death along the sleeve.

"The relevant 'dress code' for spectators in the courtroom is that no one should wear any attire or display any object that is so inherently prejudicial that it would deprive the defendant of a fair trial," Bob McClure, staff attorney for Judge Ann Bailey Smith, told WHAS11 in an email statement.

McClure said this is normal for any trial involving a jury, and judges typically rely on Deputy Sheriffs to monitor the courtroom and enforce the rule. 

He said that Taylor's family members have been allowed to return to the courtroom to watch the trial and to his understanding, they are there today.

LIVE UPDATES: Brett Hankison's wanton endangerment trial

Case Background

Hankison is one of three officers who fired shots the night of a no-knock raid in March 2020 that resulted in the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

His latest trial is not for the death of Breonna Taylor, rather he is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for the shots that entered a neighbor's apartment.

During the raid, Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one round from his legally owned handgun after officers used a battering ram to force open the apartment's front door.

Walker's bullet struck former LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. In response, Mattingly, Hankison and detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire.

In total, the trio fired 32 shots, but it was Cosgrove who fired the fatal shot that killed Taylor. 

There is no evidence to support that any of Hankison's shots struck Taylor, but some of his shots entered a neighboring apartment with three people, including a child, inside.

Hankison is the only officer charged in the case of Breonna Taylor, however, no one has been charged for Taylor's death.

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