Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, was escorted from a Louisville, Kentucky, courtroom on Thursday, where Brett Hankison, an ex-Louisville Metro Police Department officer, is facing criminal charges. Palmer was allegedly escorted from the courtroom because she was wearing a jacket with her late daughter’s face on the front.
Taylor’s younger sister, Juniyah Palmer, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that one of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies told her and her mother that her jacket “isn’t going to work.”
Juniyah arrived at the courthouse dressed in a letterman-style black and crimson jacket. Taylor’s face was embroidered on the front and back of the coat, with the letter “B” and the date March 13, 2020, on the sleeve to indicate the day of her death.
Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith’s staff attorney released a statement on the situation saying “standard ‘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.”
The statement goes on to say that any clothing that “prominently displays sympathy for either side in a trial may prejudice the jury, or appear to do so, and it could result in a mistrial or an appellate court’s reversal of the jury’s ultimate decision.”
Another woman at the trial apparently received a similar message from the deputy.
“He asked the one woman wearing a Breonna tee to cover it; after she responded with foul language, he said that he asked her to leave,” the statement from Smith’s staff read.
The Louisville Courier-Journal writes that Juniyah responded to her and her mother’s removal by encouraging her social media followers to join her in protesting by wearing apparel with her sister’s face on it to the courthouse. On Friday, both of them returned to the courthouse without any issues.
“There is no reason we can’t wear anything pertaining to her if y’all keep preaching this trial isn’t about her,” she wrote.
Hankison is facing accusations of wanton endangerment in connection with Taylor’s death during the police raid. His charges, on the other hand, had nothing to do with her death.
Hankison is on trial after his gun allegedly fired multiple shots into an adjacent apartment next to Taylor’s, killing three people: a man, a pregnant woman, and a kid. As previously reported by Blavity, none of the officers involved in Taylor’s death have been charged.