On Feb. 24, Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, was removed from a courtroom in Louisville, Kentucky for wearing a jacket that bore the face of her late daughter.
The incident occurred as former Louisville Metro Police Department officer Brett Hankison was facing his criminal trial. Hankison took part in the reckless search warrant that claimed the life of the 26-year-old Black woman in March 2020.
Palmer wore a red and black letterman-style jacket that had Taylor’s face on the front and back. The words “Say Her Name” was embroidered in bold on the back of the piece, while the sleeve of the jacket bore the date that Taylor’s life was taken, which was on March 13, 2020.
Juniyah Palmer, Taylor’s younger sister, also wore a shirt to commemorate her fallen family member. The front of the tie-dye shirt featured the words, “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”, a slogan that went viral in the months following Taylor’s untimely passing. Juniyah told the Courier-Journal that one official from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said that she and her mother’s clothing were not “going to work.” They were promptly escorted out of the courtroom and did not return for the rest of the day.
Juniyah later let out her frustration on Instagram about the incident.
“Today we have been kicked out and escorted out of the hall of justice! My mother was wearing her jacket that has Breonna on it, not only that Sherrif 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,” she wrote.
In a statement, Lieutenant Carl Yates of the Jefferson County Sherrif’s command staff said that Palmer’s jacket failed “standard ‘dress code’ for spectators in the courtroom.”
“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 continued. “Any attire 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.”
The deputy claimed that after he asked one of the women, presumably Juniyah, to cover her Breonna tee, “she responded with foul language.” That’s when the family was asked to leave the courtroom, the statement added. Juniyah and her mother were allowed to return to the courtroom the following day.
Hankison, who wasn’t charged with Taylor’s death, faces three counts of wanton endangerment for putting occupants of the young Black woman’s apartment complex at risk. Rounds from his gun traveled into one unit where a man, a pregnant woman, and a young child were living, the Courier-Journal noted.