The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office on Friday released roughly 20 hours of audio from proceedings by a grand jury that ultimately decided not to charge the three officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting with her death.
Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron was ordered by a judge to take the extraordinarily unusual step of releasing the grand jury recording, a process that is typically kept secret, after an unidentified juror filed a motion requesting the release of all information in Taylor’s case—stating “certain questions were left unanswered.”
“The grand jury is meant to be a secretive body. It’s apparent that the public interest, in this case, isn’t going to allow that to happen,” Cameron said.
The grand jury made the stunning decision last week to indict just one officer, Brett Hankison, for recklessly firing shots that endangered people in other apartments. Mattingly and Cosgrove—the latter the cop who fired the shot that killed Taylor—weren’t charged. Cameron has said they were “justified to protect themselves.”
“Do we really want the truth, or do we want a truth that fits our narrative?” Cameron said last week amid outrage over the grand jury decision.
However, in the days since, questions have emerged about the narrative that was presented to the grand jury. Cameron revealed last week that the only charge recommended to the grand jury was wanton endangerment, despite previously stating that he’d talked to jurors about “every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available.”
Cameron had also said a witness confirmed the three officers’ account that they announced their presence before entering Taylor’s home. However, according to documents and audio obtained by Vice News on Saturday, that sole witness initially told investigators he didn’t hear police announce themselves. Two months later, he changed his story.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenny Walker, and 11 other residents who lived in the 26-year-old’s Louisville apartment building, all said they didn’t hear the cops announce themselves. Walker said he thought he was being burglarized and fired a warning shot that triggered the tragic chain of events.
A Kentucky State ballistics report obtained by Vice and several other outlets also showed an inconsistency in Cameron’s assertion that Walker shot Mattingly in the thigh—which prompted the officers to return fire with up to 20 shots. Cameron said investigators had ruled out “friendly fire” as the source of the shot, but the KSP report said that “due to limited markings of comparative value,” the 9mm bullet that hit Mattingly was neither “identified nor eliminated as having been fired” by Walker’s gun.
During a news conference on Tuesday, the lawyer for the grand juror stressed that truth and transparency are essential for a case that has become one of the most talked about in the country.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, applauded the “brave” juror and said the “public deserves better than the word games Daniel Cameron is playing to avoid telling the full truth.”
“Reading between the lines, it is obvious that Daniel Cameron lied to Tamika Palmer, the citizens of Kentucky, and the world when he said the grand jury agreed that Officers Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified to kill Breonna.”
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