Kentucky Attorney General Agrees to Release Grand Jury Recording in Breonna Taylor Case

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
Police and protesters converge during a demonstration, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. A grand jury has indicted one officer on criminal charges six months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Kentucky. The jury presented its decision against fired officer Brett Hankison Wednesday to a judge in Louisville, where the shooting took place. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

 

Despite last week’s announcement that the Kentucky Attorney General’s office would only indict one of the officers involved in the incident that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, the saga continues. Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Monday that he would release the recording of the grand jury proceedings in the case. 

In a statement given to The Hill, Cameron stated that he will make the recording public on Wednesday in compliance with a judge’s order. He said that he is willing to follow the court order despite concerns over the potential impact on the ongoing investigation and other “unintended consequences.” 

The announcement comes less than a week after the decision to indict only one officer for endangering the safety of others at the scene. “As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the Grand Jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool,” Cameron said. “Despite these concerns, we will comply with the Judge’s order to release the recording on Wednesday.”

The state attorney general had previously rejected requests to release the records. But lawyers representing the Taylor family, Gov. Andy Beshear, and an anonymous grand juror applied enough pressure to get Cameron to relent. “The Grand Jury is meant to be a secretive body,” Cameron’s statement read. “It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.”

The anonymous grand juror made a court filing calling for the release of the transcript and records. It also asked that his fellow jurors be allowed to speak publicly about the case. “We have no concerns with grand jurors sharing their thoughts on our presentation because we are confident in the case we presented,” Cameron insisted. “Once the public listens to the recording, they will see that over the course of two-and-a-half days, our team presented a thorough and complete case to the Grand Jury.”

In the filing, the juror noted that “Attorney General Cameron attempted to make it very clear that the grand jury alone made the decision on who and what to charge based solely on the evidence presented to them.” He continued, “The only exception to the responsibility he foisted upon the grand jurors was in his statement that they ‘agreed’ with his team’s investigation that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their actions.”

The juror also indicated in the court filing that he wished for the transcript to be released so that “the truth may prevail.” Kevin Glogower, the attorney representing the juror, stated that “The full story and absolute truth of how this matter was handled from beginning to end is now an issue of great public interest and has become a large part of the discussion of public trust throughout the country.”

It seems unlikely that the transcript will have any bearing on the legal case regarding the two officers who were not indicted. But it will likely shed more light on how the incident was handled from the beginning of the case to its tragic conclusion. 

 

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