Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is on the defensive as his office continues to receive criticism over the Breonna Taylor case.
Cameron spoke out after Taylor family attorney Ben Crump urged him to recuse himself so a special prosecutor can be appointed to investigate the case.
“It is now clearer than ever that this was a case where you decided early on that your office would never actually prosecute against officers Cosgrove, Mattingly and anyone else responsible for the unlawful death of Breonna Taylor,” Crump wrote in an open letter posted on his website.
“Your office refused to even allow a grand jury to seek indictments against any of these three officers with relation to Breonna Taylor,” the letter continued. “You were biased throughout the process and intentionally deprived justice for Breonna and her family.”
Taylor died on March 13 after Louisville Metro Police officers stormed her apartment to execute a drug search warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot with his handgun because he though the home was being burglarized. Officers Brett Hankinson, John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove responded with a hail of gunfire. Taylor was hit five times.
In a statement emailed to NPR on Monday, Oct. 5, Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for Cameron, said his office kept control of the potential criminal case against the three officers because it had “resources required to complete the investigation.” At the time the case was referred to Cameron, Walker was facing attempted murder charges filed by Louisville Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine because the shot Walker fired reportedly struck Mattingly.
“Our office was asked to appoint a special prosecutor because of a conflict of interest by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who at the time, was pursuing the prosecution of Mr. Kenneth Walker,” Kuhn said in the email.
“The law allowed for the Attorney General to appoint a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to oversee the case, but given the importance of the case and the resources required to complete the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions proceeded with handling the investigation and prosecution,” Kuhn added.
Cameron, whose office was not required to wait for a grand jury indictment to bring charges against the officers, never presented a homicide case to the grand jury.
On Tuesday, Cameron tried to clear his name during an appearance on “Fox and Friends.” During an interview with host Steve Doocy, he targeted Crump by name.
“This is the Ben Crump model,” Cameron said. “He goes into a city, creates a narrative, cherry picks facts to establish, to prove that narrative, creates chaos in a community, misrepresents the facts, and then he leaves with his money, and then asks the community to pick up the pieces. It is terribly offensive on his part to push such narratives, such falsehoods.”
Cameron also took a swipe at rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who used her performance this past weekend on “Saturday Night Live” to criticize him. The performance featured an audio clip of activist Tamika Mallory comparing the attorney general to Black people who sold other Africans into slavery.
“The fact that someone would get on national television and make disparaging comments about me because I’m simply trying to do my job is disgusting,” Cameron said of the “Savage” rapper.
Cameron argued the performance is proof the left is not tolerant of opposing beliefs.
“You hear a lot of that from the left about being tolerant. But what you saw there is inconsistent with tolerance. In fact, it’s her disposing intolerance because I’ve decided to stand up for truth and justice,” he said.
Lonita Baker, another Taylor family attorney, had a few choice words for the Republican.
“It’s unfortunate that Daniel Cameron has referred to seeking justice for victims of police brutality as the ‘Crump Playbook.’ He can’t respond to the real criticism that he circumvented the grand jury process but yet he makes time to respond to Megan Thee Stallion’s Saturday Night Live performance,” Baker said in a statement to CNN.
“I’d much rather be fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor by demanding a prosecutor who will uphold Kentucky laws for all citizens rather than one who seeks to only protect his own political agenda,” she added. “Daniel Cameron’s playbook is the real issue that needs to be discussed.”
A federal probe of the officers’ conduct in Taylor’s slaying remains ongoing.