BLACK VOICES

Kentucky AG Didn’t Give Grand Jury Option To Consider Murder Charges In Breonna Taylor Case

Attorney General Daniel Cameron's comments come after a grand jury didn't charge any Louisville officers in the high-profile killing of a Black medical worker.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Tuesday that he did not even give the grand jury the option to consider charges ― including murder ― against two of the officers who were involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

In an interview with WDRB-TV, Cameron said it was “not appropriate” to recommend charges for Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove ― two of the three Louisville police officers who fired shots in Taylor’s apartment early March 13, six of which hit the 26-year-old Black woman.

“They’re an independent body. If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that,” the attorney general told the station. “But our recommendation was that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their acts and their conduct.”

The grand jury declined last week to charge any of the officers involved in the death of Taylor, who was sleeping at home with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when plainclothes police broke into the apartment after midnight and fired at them during a botched narcotics raid. Walker said he used a legally owned weapon to fire a warning shot after officers failed to identify themselves. Though Mattingly was hit during the raid, the evidence is unclear as to whose bullet struck him.

Police found no drugs at the home, later saying that the suspect in the narcotics investigation had actually been arrested earlier that day.

One of the officers, Det. Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment related to shots fired that entered other apartments. Cameron’s office did recommend the wanton endangerment charges 

The attorney general’s comments come a day after he announced he will release the recording of the grand jury proceedings. The announcement was in response to a juror’s lawsuit seeking for the records to be made public and asking that grand jurors be allowed to speak freely on the matter so the “truth may prevail.”

“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,” Kevin Glogower, the juror’s attorney, wrote in the filing. The lawsuit also claimed that Cameron was using the jurors in Taylor’s case “as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for those decisions.”

The grand jury’s decision in Taylor’s case set off additional protests calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice while demonstrators expressed rage and grief at the limited charges. Taylor’s family, which reached a $12 million settlement with the city of Louisville, condemned Cameron and has also called for the release of the grand jury information.