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Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case

Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday he can’t judge “guilt or innocence” when asked about the grand jury decision not to bring any charges against police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor

“I can't judge guilt or innocence. And, ultimately, this isn't the end. This is the beginning. A jury will have to decide that,” Paul told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum. 

“But those details are best left to a jury, without politicians and everybody else weighing in on guilt or innocence,” he added. 

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Taylor was shot six times when police entered her home in Louisville on March 13. The Kentucky grand jury announced no charges against officers on Wednesday in the killing of Taylor, instead announcing three lesser counts of wanton endangerment against Louisville police officer Brett Hankison. The counts are not directly tied to the fatal shooting of Taylor. 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) said there was not conclusive evidence that any of the 10 shots Hankison fired into Taylor's apartment actually hit Taylor. Some of the bullets did travel into an adjacent apartment, which is why Hankison is facing charges. 

The two other officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, fired six and 16 shots. Taylor was shot six times, but only one of the bullet wounds proved to be fatal, Cameron said.

The killing shot was fired from Cosgrove, Cameron said, but he said both Cosgrove and Mattingly were “justified” in their use of deadly force under Kentucky law since Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired first. Walker has admitted to shooting first but said he thought the plainclothes officers were intruders and never announced themselves.

A number of Democrats spoke out against Wednesday’s announcement, in contrast with Paul’s comments, including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) who said systemic racism continues to plague the country. 

“I will never feel the weight of 400 years of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow … but I can listen, I can try to hear, and I can be clear: Systematic racism exists in this world, in this country and in our commonwealth,” Beshear said, noting that he had no power over how Cameron and his office conducted their investigation.