Breonna Taylor grand jury recordings released
Audio recordings of the grand jury proceedings in the case of Breonna Taylor — the 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by Louisville police in her own home in March — have been released as ordered by a judge.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) had initially said that he would not release a transcript or recordings, citing the usual secretive nature of grand juries, but was forced to do so after one of the jurors on the panel filed a motion Monday, saying that the public had the right to the recordings.
“I’m confident that once the public listens to the recordings, they will see that our team presented a thorough case to the Jefferson County Grand Jury,” Cameron said in a statement Friday. “Our presentation followed the facts and the evidence, and the Grand Jury was given a complete picture of the events surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death on March 13th. While it is unusual for a court to require the release of the recordings from Grand Jury proceedings, we complied with the order, rather than challenging it, so that the full truth can be heard.”
The recordings were supposed to be released Wednesday, but Cameron’s office was granted an extension until Friday at noon due to the length of the proceedings.
The released audio totals nearly 20 hours, and a written transcript of the recordings has yet to be released.
Cameron announced last week that the grand jury decided to only indict one of the three officers involved with Taylor’s death. The three charges of wanton endangerment levied against former officer Brett Hankison are not directly related to the killing of Taylor, as Cameron said that none of the 10 bullets that Hankison blindly fired in the Taylor’s apartment hit her. Instead multiple shots fired by Hankison traveled into an adjacent apartment where three people unrelated to the case resided, which is why he was charged.
Six shots from the other two officers — Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — hit Taylor, with one of the bullets fired by Cosgrove proving to be fatal. However, Cameron said that under Kentucky law, the officers were “justified” in their use of deadly force since Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker shot first.
Walker has said he believed the officers to be intruders and never heard them announce themselves.
The three officers were at Taylor’s apartment with a no-knock warrant, but Cameron said the police trio banged loudly on the door and announced their presence. The head prosecutor said this was corroborated by a single civilian witness, though it has been reported that other witnesses present did not hear Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison announce themselves.
In an interview this week, Cameron told a local TV station that he never recommended murder charges to the grand jury.
“They’re an independent body. If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that,” Cameron said in the interview. “But our recommendation was that [officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove] were justified in their acts and their conduct.”
Updated at 1:48 p.m.