Fired-up Democrats in the Fancy Farm crowd refused to let Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron forget what they see as his biggest failure.
Dozens of Democrats loudly chanted “Breonna Taylor,” the name of the 26-year-old Black woman killed by Louisville police in 2020, for the duration of Cameron’s speech at the 142nd Annual picnic hosted by St. Jerome Catholic Church.
Taylor was fresh in the minds of Democrats, as just two days earlier the federal Department of Justice charged four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers in connection with the late emergency room technician’s death.
Cameron has faced renewed scrutiny over his office’s investigation of police actions in light of the DOJ’s findings announced Thursday by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Cameron’s office served as the special prosecutor in the Taylor case after the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine recused himself, citing a conflict of interest.
Ultimately, Cameron’s team charged just one officer, former Detective Brett Hankison, with endangering Taylor’s neighbors. No one was charged at the state level for Taylor’s death, and Hankison was found not guilty in a jury trial.
Even with a microphone, Cameron, while energetic and animated on stage, was still difficult to hear over the chants at times.
Republicans in the pavilion made sure to let the first-term attorney general know he had their support, though.
Cameron promised law enforcement he would “always have your back and we will always support the blue,” prompting thunderous applause from the GOP side. He also touted his endorsements from “over 50 law enforcement officials.”
Charles Booker, the Democrat challenging sitting U.S. Senator Rand Paul, encouraged the crowd to say Taylor’s name, nodding along and raising his fist. He’d also given a nod to ‘Breewayy,’ a frequent call of racial justice protesters in Louisville, in his speech earlier in the picnic.
Booker, from stage, encourages the crowd to continue its “Breonna Taylor” chants.
Cameron is really having to project to be heard over the chants.
He enthusiastically says he’ll always ‘back the blue.’ Lots of applause — and jeers — for that one. pic.twitter.com/rYUyutXGtd
— Tessa Duvall (@TessaDuvall) August 6, 2022
The chanting continued until after Cameron walked away from the lectern, at which point Booker led the crowd in a call-and-response chant of Taylor’s name.
While he did not address the federal charges or the Taylor case from the stage, Cameron told reporters ahead of his speech that the two officers who shot Taylor, now-retired Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and ex-detective Myles Cosgrove, did not use excessive force that night.
“I know folks have very strong feelings about this case ... but we have a responsibility to not give into any preferred narrative,” he said. “We have a responsibility to do right by the laws of Kentucky and that’s what we did.”
The scene as Cameron left the stage: pic.twitter.com/7NjG1b0uQb
— Tessa Duvall (@TessaDuvall) August 6, 2022
The DOJ charged Hankison with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law; one count was for Taylor and Walker, the other for the three neighbors in the adjacent apartment unit.
The charges against Sgt. Kyle Meany, Detective Kelly Goodlett and ex-detective Joshua Jaynes all stem from the falsification of the search warrant and subsequent conspiracy to mislead investigators looking into the incident.
Cameron’s office did not investigate how the warrant was obtained or if it contained misinformation, which he has maintained was outside of the scope with what his office was tasked with doing.
After the speeches, Booker said he was proud of the Kentuckians who “lifted their voices” against Cameron.
“We’re calling for justice,” he said. “We’re calling for accountability. Anybody that’s running for governor needs to be responsible to the people of Kentucky.”
Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge said Cameron will have to answer for how he handled the Taylor case.
“What we understand now is, not only did Daniel Cameron not do his job, but there are real questions about what he knew, when he knew it, and how that impacted the outcome at the state level,” Elridge said. “So I think what you saw, they will try to spin it as politics. But what you saw was people who ... still live in fear because of what was done to (Taylor). And for him to just treat that so cavalierly, shows that he not only hasn’t grown in this office and he is wholly unprepared to be governor.”