POLITICS

Recordings Of Grand Jury Deliberations In Cop Shooting Of Breonna Taylor Released

No officers were charged with Taylor's killing. A grand jury member said they were not asked to consider homicide or manslaughter charges.

Hours of grand jury recordings in the case of Breonna Taylor, a Black first responder gunned down in her own home by police in Lousiville, Kentucky, were released Friday.

A state judge ruled earlier this week that audio recording of the grand jury presentation would be added to the court’s case file. The 20 hours of recorded deliberations were taped over three days.

At 1 a.m. on March 13, plainclothes officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department shot Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, to death in her own apartment. The shooting occurred after police had been issued a “no-knock” drug warrant for the home as part of a drug-dealing investigation. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the officers in fear that the apartment was being burglarized, Walker’s lawyer said at the time. Taylor was killed when officers fired back, striking the woman 6 times.

No drugs were found in the home, and neither Taylor nor Walker were the specific targets of the probe. And a key point in dispute is whether the police knocked and announced themselves before entering; the officers and one neighbor said they did, Walker and several neighbors said they heard no knocks or identifying information.

The decision to release deliberations came amid outrage that the three officers involved in Taylor’s killing were never charged with manslaughter or homicide. Instead, Det. Brett Hankison was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment last week after an investigation found that he had shot through an outside sliding glass door into multiple apartments, including one where a pregnant woman and her child lived. The charge is a felony with a sentence of up to five years in prison under Kentucky law.

Adding to the outrage was a claim from an anonymous member of the grand jury earlier this week that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) never asked jury members to consider homicide charges. 

Cameron, a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said at a news conference following the grand jury’s decision last week that he wouldn’t be releasing the full grand jury report, citing an ongoing federal investigation. A Jefferson County Circuit Court judge overruled his decision.

The lawyer for the anonymous grand juror, Keven Glogower, said at a news conference Tuesday that his client “is ‘aggrieved,’ to use that term, that what was presented is not being publicly disclosed.” 

“I think (grand jurors) were aware ... there were certain questions that were left unanswered,” Glogower added. “It’s the accountability and the sense of public trust to make sure that everything that can get out there does and there was some concern that maybe it wasn’t.”

The city of Louisville previously reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family over her killing.