Breonna Taylor Case: Grand Juror Felt Betrayed When Not Given the Chance to Indict Officers With Murder
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Two anonymous grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case claim they were never given the option to consider indicting officers with serious charges relating to her death. In an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, the two jurors also accused police of being “negligent” and “criminal” on the night Taylor was murdered.
King spoke to the two jurors, who are the first of the 12 people impaneled for the grand jury to speak publicly, about the lead up to the fatal raid on Taylor’s apartment and the public comments by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
The attorney general claimed in September that jurors could have considered different charges, but the jurors who spoke to King said that wasn’t true.
“They never gave us the opportunity to deliberate on anything but the charges for [Brett] Hankison. That was it,” juror number two said. “That was it. As a matter of fact, when they announced that there are the only charges, it was [an] uproar in that room…There were several more charges that could have gone forward on all of those officers or at least the three shooters.”
Juror number two added being told they were not charging the three officers –– Detective Brett Hankison, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly –– “it was a betrayal.”
The two jurors also called out Cameron for his public comments, contradicting what the attorney general told the public about what charges the grand juror had considered. Juror number one told King that the first time he heard there were six possible murder charges was during Cameron’s press conference.
“I really felt that this was all Cameron. This was up to him. We didn’t get a choice in that at all. So I was livid…by the time I heard what he was sayin’, everything that came out of his mouth, I was sayin’, “Liar.” ‘Cause we didn’t agree to anything. We never met Cameron,” juror number two said.
Only one person was charged in connection to the fatal March 13 raid. Hankison was fired from Louisville Metro Police and charged on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Neither Mattingly nor Cosgrove faced charges for their roles in the fatal shooting. None of the officers involved were charged directly for murdering Taylor.
On Sept. 29, Cameron revealed he did not recommend charges against Mattingly or Cosgrove. He added, however, that the grand jury could have made an assessment about different charges.
An anonymous grand juror then requested a judge’s permission to speak publicly after Cameron announced that no officers would be charged with Taylor’s death. A judge granted grand jurors permission to speak publicly on Oct. 20, NBC News reported.
In a statement made through their attorney, the juror revealed that the grand jury was told there would be no other charges because prosecutors “didn’t feel they could make them stick.”
Cameron’s office did not respond to The North Star’s request for comment on Oct. 28.
Louisville Police “Negligent” and “Criminal”
In an earlier clip released by CBS News, the two jurors lambasted Louisville Metro Police as “negligent” leading up to the fatal raid and “criminal.”
“They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment and it sounded like they hadn’t done one,” juror number one told King. “So their organization leading up to this was lacking. That’s what I mean by they were negligent in the operation.”
Officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department executed a no-knock warrant on Taylor’s apartment on March 13. Three officers fired indiscriminately at Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenny Walker. The 26-year-old EMT, who was asleep in her bed at the time of the raid, was shot at least five times and killed.
King asked the two jurors what they thought of the police officers’ actions that night. Juror number two said the police’s actions were “criminal,” noting that the way authorities led up to the fatal raid, “including the warrant, was deception.”
Jurors Message to Taylor’s Mother
In a message to Taylor’s mother, juror number one said he wanted her to know that they tried to charge the officers responsible for her daughter’s death. “I have no idea how she feels, I can only imagine. But I needed her to know that –– again, to what Number Two was saying, that is that we tried. We were only allowed to decide on what they have to us.”
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.