LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Roughly 20 hours of grand jury recordings in the controversial Breonna Taylor decision were released Friday, allowing the public to see what evidence was presented by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office in the high-profile case.
The recordings reveal exactly who the Kentucky grand jury heard from and what they said that led to the decision to charge a former Louisville detective with felony wanton endangerment in the March 13 shooting — but not for Taylor’s death.
The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, will be reviewing the recordings.
A week ago, the grand jury indicted former Louisville detective Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment. The charges against Hankison, who was fired by the department this summer, are related to the shots he fired into a neighboring apartment where three people were.
The officers who shot Taylor, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. The lack of charges reinvigorated protests in Louisville and sparked new demonstrations in cities across the country.
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Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13 when officers came to her apartment looking for drugs and cash as part of a larger narcotics investigation connected to her former boyfriend. She was shot six times.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them first.
In the week since the indictments against Hankison were announced, several groups including members of Breonna Taylor’s family and their attorneys have called for evidence and grand jury materials to be released to the public.
The release of the recordings comes after a grand juror filed a court motion Monday — in a very unusual move — calling for the release and permission to speak freely about what charges and defendants were not considered. The juror’s attorney said Cameron used them as a “shield” and that what he said — and what the jury was told — “don’t fit together.”
Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith ordered “the recording of the grand jury proceedings shall be filed in the court file by noon of Wednesday this week.” She later extended the deadline to Friday at noon at Cameron’s request.
In a statement late Monday, Cameron said he would comply with the judge’s orders, despite misgivings. “The grand jury is meant to be a secretive body,” he said. “It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.”
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Cameron at first said the grand jury agreed with the self-defense determination. Cameron’s spokeswoman acknowledged Monday night that prosecutors had never recommended charges to the grand jury against Mattingly and Cosgrove.
Questions also have arisen about the search warrant that led police to Taylor’s door after a leaked investigative report showed Louisville police were told by a detective in Shively, a suburb of Louisville, that no packages from Jamarcus Glover, the main target of the narcotics investigation, were being delivered to her home. A judge said Thursday she was concerned that the detective may have lied to obtain the warrant.
Cameron, however, has said his investigation focused on the “events that took place in Ms. Taylor’s apartment,” not the warrant process.
“The scope of our investigation did not include the attainment of that warrant by LMPD’s criminal interdiction division. Federal law enforcement partners are conducting that investigation,” he said at a press conference last Wednesday.
Contributing: Darcy Costello, Tessa Duvall, Matt Mencarini, Louisville Courier Journal