CRIME

Grand Jurors In Breonna Taylor Case Call Police Actions ‘Negligent’ And ‘Criminal’

Two anonymous jurors spoke to CBS's Gayle King about the hurdles in deliberating the case over the Louisville police killing of the 26-year-old Black woman.

Two of the grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case said that the actions of the police in Louisville, Kentucky, that led to the high-profile killing were “negligent” and “criminal.”

The jurors sat down with journalist Gayle King for an interview set to air Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” Each juror was identified as “Juror One” and “Juror Two” in order to remain anonymous. CBS released portions of the interview on Tuesday, in which the jurors’ faces were blurred.

King asked the jurors what they thought of the police officers’ actions the night they carried out a botched warrant search on Taylor’s apartment, when they fatally shot her in the early hours of March 13. Juror One said: “Negligent.”

“They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment, and it sounded like they hadn’t done one,” Juror One said. “So their organization leading up to this was lacking. That’s what I mean by they were negligent in the operation.”

Juror Two more matter-of-factly said that the officers’ actions were “criminal.”

“Leading up to this in everything that they ― the way they moved forward on it, including the warrant, was deception,” Juror Two said.

Police shot Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, multiple times while serving a no-knock warrant involving her former boyfriend, who was already in custody at the time. Her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he fired a warning shot when the plainclothes officers entered because he believed intruders were breaking into the apartment. Police detained Walker while leaving Taylor to die, and they never found drugs or cash at the apartment.

On Sept. 23, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that none of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor’s apartment was charged by the grand jury in her death. The 12-member panel charged one officer, Brett Hankison, who had already been fired, with “wanton endangerment” for shooting into a neighboring apartment.

Cameron alleged the grand jury “agreed” that the officers who shot Taylor ― Det. Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly ― were justified in their actions, leading to renewed protests demanding justice for her. Taylor’s name had already spread throughout the country this summer as protests against racism and police brutality invoked the 26-year-old essential worker.

But Cameron’s comments led an anonymous juror to come out and say that prosecutors never presented the panel with homicide charges against the three officers involved in Taylor’s death. After a judge granted the jurors permission to speak publicly on the case, the juror said the panel asked about additional charges but was told there wouldn’t be any. The remarks led to the release of the recordings of the grand jury deliberations.

“The grand jury didn’t agree that certain actions were justified, nor did it decide the indictment should be the only charges in the Breonna Taylor case,” the juror wrote in a statement via attorney Kevin Glogower. “I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told.”

Days later, a second person who served on the grand jury released a statement via Glogower agreeing with the first juror’s remarks, criticizing Cameron for how the proceedings were conducted. Cameron said that he didn’t give the grand jury the option to consider homicide charges because it was “not appropriate” to recommend them against the other two officers.

The two jurors ― whom HuffPost cannot confirm are the same or different jurors from the ones who released statements via Glogower ― told King in their interview that the entire panel wanted to discuss more charges related to the officers.

“When you’re told that the only thing you need to consider right now is wanton endangerment, did anyone say, ‘Hey, are there any other options here? Did either of you say that?’” King asked.

“Everyone. Yes, everyone said that,” said Juror Two, with the other concurring that almost the entire room agreed.

When King asked what the jury was told as an answer, Juror One said, “Basically in a nutshell, they said, ’There were other possible charges we considered but nothing that we could make stick or that we felt we could make stick.”

Cameron’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.