State Watch

Breonna Taylor’s family requests new special prosecutor to reopen case

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Attorneys for Breonna Taylor’s family are calling for a new special prosecutor to reopen her case and for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) to recuse himself from the matter.

The family made their demands in an open letter that was shared Saturday on Twitter by attorney Ben Crump. In it, they accused Cameron of failing to follow the proper procedures to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether charges should be brought against the three officers present at the shooting and of purposely keeping the case in his office.

“It is now clearer than ever that this was a case where you decided early on that your office would never actually prosecute against officers [Myles] Cosgrove, [Jonathan] Mattingly and anyone else responsible for the unlawful death of Breonna Taylor,” they wrote.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed after Louisville, Ky., police shot her while acting on a no-knock warrant for her ex-boyfriend.

The officers involved in Taylor’s killing were executing a warrant for a drug case involving her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover in March, resulting in Taylor’s death. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought intruders were entering the apartment and shot at the officers, leading them to shoot back and kill Taylor.

When reached for comment, Cameron’s office defended his earlier course of action.

“The Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions is the special prosecutor in this case. Our office was asked to appoint a special prosecutor because of a conflict of interest by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who at the time, was pursuing the prosecution of Mr. Kenneth Walker,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

“The law allowed for the Attorney General to appoint a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to oversee the case, but given the importance of the case and the resources required to complete the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions proceeded with handling the investigation and prosecution,” she added.

The family’s call for a new special prosecutor came a day after recordings of the grand jury proceedings were released. The grand jury decided last month to charge the third officer, Brett Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment after bullets from his weapon went through Taylor’s wall into a neighbor’s apartment. His charge did not relate to the fatal shooting of Taylor.

Cameron told news station WDRB last week that he did not present any murder charges to the grand jury, saying they were “not appropriate.”

He has argued that Cosgrove and Mattingly were found justified in their use of deadly force because of Walker’s shot that hit Mattingly in the upper thigh. 

Hankison, the only officer charged in the case, pleaded not guilty last week to the wanton endangerment charges. The judge at his arraignment ruled that recordings from the grand jury proceedings had to be released.

The open letter released over the weekend accused Cameron’s office of declining to “even allow a grand jury to seek indictments against any of these three officers with relation to Breonna Taylor.”

“You were biased throughout the process and intentionally deprived justice for Breonna and her family,” the letter read. “Because your office is unwilling to fulfill your duties, we demand you that you recuse yourself from this matter and have the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council appoint a special prosecutor who is willing to allow a grand jury to actually do its job, deliberate over all possible charges and render a decision on a True Bill for each.”

The letter had received almost 8,400 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

ABC News reported on Sunday that the Taylor family’s attorneys released an open letter on Saturday addressed to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) requesting he appoint a new special prosecutor. It is unclear if the letter to Cameron is a separate letter or a version of the one sent to Beshear.

Before the grand jury decision, the city of Louisville committed to paying Taylor’s family a $12 million settlement for their wrongful death lawsuit.

Tags Black Lives Matter Breonna Taylor death Breonna Taylor protests charges Grand jury Kentucky Law enforcement Louisville Police recuse Special prosecutor

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