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'It needs to be community inclusive': Tamika Palmer, community leaders feel vindicated by DOJ report

They say they're hopeful that real reform will come with the Department of Justice providing oversight, but they need to see action taken first.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, said the Department of Justice report reveals what she always believed about the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD): the department needs serious reform.

"It's heartbreaking to know that everything you've been saying from day one has to be said again," Palmer said at a news conference Wednesday.

Palmer, and others, feel vindicated for their months-long protests in the summer of 2020 and continued calls for police accountability.

They say they're hopeful that real reform with come with the DOJ providing oversight, but they need to see action taken first.

Shameka Parrish-Wright, a former mayoral candidate who called for police accountability, said she can only wait to see if a real change will come about, but said it'll only happen if LMPD and Metro Government become uncomfortable.

"We got to stop only wanting to talk to people who don't, who don't challenge us," Parrish-Wright said. "They get, they go to certain faith leaders, and they get in their churches, and then they think they've done their job and that isn't it."

Khalilah Collins is a former Louisville community organizer turned New Orleans resident, where she's seen a consent decree in action.

"It needs to be transparent. It needs to be community-inclusive," Collins said. "It needs to be different than we've done before."

The NAACP said that new direction needs to happen on all levels, including opening up FOP negotiations to the public and allowing Louisville's inspector general unfettered access to case files.

"They should be open so we will all know what is going on and there can be no surprises to the community," NAACP Louisville President Raoul Cunningham said.

Palmer said her daughter's life was too high a cost to pay to reach this moment.

"I've always knew she would be great, that she would do good things. It shouldn't have took this," she said.

Attorneys for Palmer said in addition to cooperating with the DOJ, city leadership needs to get rid of command staff who the report says were complicit in officers' actions.

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