Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to release the recording of the grand jury proceedings related to the Breonna Taylor case. On Tuesday, he agreed to comply with the court order mandating that he release the records.
A grand juror who submitted a court filing calling for the publicizing of the records alleged that the attorney general “misrepresented” the deliberations. The juror, who has chosen to remain anonymous for now, stated that Cameron “failed to offer the panel the option of indicting the two officers who fatally shot the young woman.’
The attorney general’s office acknowledged that it did not give the grand jury to option to indict Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, but insisted that it is “confident” in the case they brought to the proceedings. “The evidence supported that Sergeant Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” the attorney general’s office said in a released statement. “For that reason, the only charge recommended was wanton endangerment.”
Former Det. Brett Hankison, who was the officer who fired his weapon after the shooting, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment due to his firing “blindly” into Taylor’s home, striking a wall adjoining her neighbor’s residence. Hankison has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Kevin Glogower, the attorney representing the juror, told The New York Times that the juror reached out to him after Cameron claimed that state law prohibited him from charging the two officers. During a press conference on Sept. 23, the attorney general said, “While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed — and the grand jury agreed — that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon.”
However, Glogower argued that Cameron’s portrayal of the situation was inaccurate. In Monday’s court filing, he asserted that it was “patently unjust” that the attorney general “attempted to make it very clear that the grand jury alone made the decision.” He continued, “Using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions only sows more seeds of doubt in the process while leaving a cold chill down the spines of future grand jurors.”
While the release of the grand jury recording is unlikely to have any legal ramifications, it will allow the public to see how the proceedings actually went. Cameron’s implication that the grand jury was was the sole arbiter in the fate of the two police officers comes off as misleading given the fact that he did not tell the public that his office never gave the grand jury the option to decide whether or not to indict the two men.
Cameron’s omission of the grand jury’s options in this case could have been an oversight. But for a community that is already distrustful of law enforcement, it could easily be seen as a deliberate deception designed to make it seem as if a jury of civilians decided that the two officers should go free when, in reality, they were never given the authority to make that decision.
Cameron told The Hill that he would be releasing the recording to the public on Wednesday to comply with the judge’s order.