US

Breonna Taylor grand juror claims panel was NOT given a chance to consider homicide charges

A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has come forward to claim that the panel was not given an opportunity to consider homicide charges against the Louisville police officers involved in the 26-year-old EMT’s death

A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has come forward to claim that the panel was not given an opportunity to consider homicide charges against the Louisville police officers involved in the 26-year-old EMT’s death.  

An attorney for the anonymous juror issued a statement on their behalf on Tuesday after a Kentucky judge granted panel members permission to speak publicly about the case presented by the state’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron.  

‘The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them,’ the statement from attorney Kevin Glogower read.  

‘The grand jury never heard about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either.’ 

The juror said the panel was only presented with wanton endangerment charges against one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who served a no-knock narcotics warrant at Taylor’s apartment on March 13.   

That officer, Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbors home during the botched raid. The other two officers, Myles Cosgrove and John Mattingly, were not charged.

Cameron has acknowledged wanton endangerment was the only charge recommended to the grand jury but said prosecutors ‘walked the grand jury through every homicide offense’.

He also said ‘the grand jury agreed’ that the officers who shot Taylor were ‘justified’ in returning fire after they were shot at by Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend.  

The anonymous grand juror challenged Cameron’s comments in Tuesday’s statement, saying: ‘The grand jury didn’t agree that certain actions were justified, nor did it decide the indictment should be the only charges in the Breonna Taylor case.’

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (pictured) has acknowledged wanton endangerment was the only charge recommended to the grand jury but said prosecutors 'walked the grand jury through every homicide offense'

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (pictured) has acknowledged wanton endangerment was the only charge recommended to the grand jury but said prosecutors ‘walked the grand jury through every homicide offense’

‘Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick,’ the statement continued. 

‘The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I can’t speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told.’  

Glowgower, the juror’s attorney, said his client’s chief complaint was the way in which the results were ‘portrayed to the public as to who made what decisions and who agreed with what decisions’.

The grand juror had no further plans to speak about the proceedings on Tuesday beyond the statement, Glowgower said.

Members of the grand jury panel were given the green light to speak publicly under a Monday ruling from Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell.

In the same ruling, O’Connell ordered the release of grand jury records, citing the need to show if ‘publicly elected officials are being honest’.  

‘This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where, at the time this motion is made, the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null,’ O’Connell wrote in the ruling. 

O’Connell said she made her decision after considering ‘the interest of citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be assured that its publicly elected officials are being honest in their representations’. 

Cameron had opposed allowing grand jurors to speak about the proceedings in court, but on Tuesday said he would not appeal the judge’s ruling. 

Grand juries are typically secret meetings, though earlier this month the audio recordings of the proceedings in the Taylor case were released publicly.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, on Tuesday reiterated his call for the appointment of a new independent prosecutor. 

Another attorney for the family, Sam Aguiar, said in a statement: ‘Daniel Cameron should be ashamed of himself. He made a decision based upon a political agenda.’

Aguiar charged that Cameron, a rising star in the Republican Party who was praised for his handling of the case by President Donald Trump, ‘tried to hide behind secrecy rules and now his lies got exposed’.

‘Everything he’s done has been an abuse of the system,’ Aguiar said of Cameron. 

‘Breonna’s Taylor’s family deserves and is entitled to a prosecutor committed to doing the job with morals, ethics and a commitment to the law.’

Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (pictured together) were asleep in her apartment on March 13 when police broke down the door, looking for contraband in a narcotics investigation focused on her ex-boyfriend

Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker (pictured together) were asleep in her apartment on March 13 when police broke down the door, looking for contraband in a narcotics investigation focused on her ex-boyfriend

Gunshots and blood are seen on a wall inside Taylor's apartment after the deadly raid

Gunshots and blood are seen on a wall inside Taylor’s apartment after the deadly raid

Taylor and Walker were asleep in her apartment on March 13 when police broke down the door, looking for contraband in a narcotics case that focused on her ex-boyfriend.

Walker, who later said that he had thought the police were burglars, fired once, wounding one officer.

Three police officers – Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly – responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Taylor, who died at the scene.

The proceedings ended with the jury recommending no homicide charges against the three white officers in the case, an outcome that stoked days of protests over the use of excessive force by police against blacks and minorities.  

An anonymous grand juror who sat on the panel had sued to speak publicly about the secret grand jury proceeding last month. 

The suit suggested that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron may have misrepresented details of the case that the jury heard. 

Earlier this month, Cameron filed a motion asking a local court to dismiss the request from the grand juror. 

In the statement, Cameron expressed ‘concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings’ which he called secretive by firm legal precedent in order to protect the safety of all involved. 

He claimed it would ‘set a dangerous legal precedent’.  

Cameron said: ‘As I’ve stated prior, I have no concerns with a grand juror sharing their thoughts or opinions about me and my office’s involvement in the matter involving the death of Ms Breonna Taylor.

‘However, I have concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings.’

An anonymous grand juror who sat on the panel had sued to speak publicly about the secret grand jury proceeding last month. That juror issued the statement above at the time

An anonymous grand juror who sat on the panel had sued to speak publicly about the secret grand jury proceeding last month. That juror issued the statement above at the time

Taylor is pictured with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker

Breonna Taylor

Cameron had argued that the officers were justified in firing into Taylor’s apartment because her boyfriend Walker (left with her) shot at them first  

Cameron added: ‘The grand jury process is secretive for a reason, to protect the safety and anonymity of all the grand jurors, witnesses, and innocent persons involved in the proceedings.’

‘Allowing this disclosure would irreversibly alter Kentucky’s legal system by making it difficult for prosecutors and the public to have confidence in the secrecy of the grand jury process going forward.’ 

The juror is reportedly the same person who on September 29 accused Cameron of ‘using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions’ and sued to make the proceedings public. 

That resulted in the release of 15 hours of recordings of the grand jury proceedings. 

But the recordings did not include any discussion of potential criminal action on the part of the officers who shot Taylor because Cameron determined beforehand that they had acted in self-defense. 

On Tuesday, O’Connell wrote that any individual grand juror who wishes to identify themselves as a participant in the proceedings could do so, but was not compelled to do so.

She further wrote that the grand jurors needed to be certain that ‘their work is not mischaracterized by the very prosecutors on whom they relied to advise them’.

Cameron has said he did not introduce any homicide charges against the two officers who shot Taylor, because they were justified in returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Cameron would appeal the ruling.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button