On the same day Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron agreed to release grand jury recording for the Breonna Taylor case after an anonymous grand juror filed a motion in court, he quietly dropped a bombshell: he never recommended a homicide charge to the grand jurors to consider against the Louisville Metro Police Department policemen involved in Taylor’s slaying.
Cameron agreed to release the recordings on Monday, hours after the grand juror requested all recordings and transcripts from the proceedings be released so “the truth may prevail,” as reported by The Louisville Courier Journal.
“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,” wrote Kevin Glogower, a lawyer representing the juror, wrote in court documents.
The juror, who wishes to remain anonymous, also wants jurors to be allowed to give up their confidentiality so they can speak freely about the proceedings. The request includes any talk about “any potential charges and defendants presented or not presented.”
Cameron, likely anticipating that the grand jury proceedings would reveal which charges were not recommended, said in a statement about the grand jury recordings emailed to news outlets on Monday that homicide charges against the three LMPD officers were never on the table.
“Our prosecutors presented all of the evidence, even though the evidence supported that Sergeant Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron stated, referring to Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two other officers who participated in the shooting. Neither of them were charged.
“For that reason, the only charge recommended was wanton endangerment.”
In last week’s news conference announcing the outcome of the grand jury proceeding, Cameron never mentioned whether that body was presented with homicide charges to consider. In Kentucky, like in many other states, a prosecutor does not have to wait for a grand jury indictment to bring charges against a defendant, nor is a prosecutor precluded from presenting charges to a second or subsequent grand juries if the initial one fails to indict on charges presented.
The grand juror’s motion accused Cameron of using the grand jury “as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for those decisions” which planted “more seeds of doubt in the process.”
The motion added that Cameron has tried to lay the grand jury’s decision solely “at the feet of the grand jury while failing to answer specific questions regarding the charges presented.”
The “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.
“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.”
Last week, outrage spread across the nation after the grand jury indicted former Louisville Metro Police Detective Brett Hankison on one count of wanton endangerment for shots that hit an apartment next door to Taylor’s home. Taylor died on March 13 after Hankison and two other officers fired shots into her apartment while executing a narcotics warrant related to her ex-boyfriend.
Cameron previously had refused to release details related to the grand jury session due to supposed concerns about confidentiality and tainting of a potential jury pool.
“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 in Monday’s statement.
Despite his misgivings, he agreed to release the recordings on Wednesday to comply with an order issued by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith, who ordered Monday: “The recording of the grand jury proceedings shall be filed in the court file by noon of Wednesday this week.”
Cameron, faced with the judge’s order, complied. “The Grand Jury is meant to be a secretive body,” his statement said. “It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen. 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.”
In a statement provided to Atlanta Black Star, Taylor family attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker called for the release of all transcripts for the proceedings.
“Since the grand jury decision was announced, we’ve been saying that Daniel Cameron clearly failed to present a comprehensive case that supported justice for Breonna. That conclusion is supported by the grand juror who came forward to say that the attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations,” the statement read.
“We fully support the call to release the entire proceeding transcript as the only way to know what evidence was presented and how the grand jury instructions led to this outcome. In America, law-abiding citizens — including Black citizens — have the right to live peacefully in their homes, without police breaking down their doors in the middle of the night, and they have a right to protect themselves and their property from intruders,” the statement continued.
“The police cannot claim their use of force was justified when they wrongly broke into Breonna’s apartment in the first place. We urge the Attorney General to release a COMPLETE and UNEDITED copy of the recording, along with any and all evidence in Bre’s case.”