Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on Tuesday that he did not present any murder charges to the grand jury that was empaneled to hear the case of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by a trio of plainclothes Louisville police officers in her home back in March.
In a sit-down interview with local news station WDRB, Cameron said that his office found murder charges were “not appropriate.”
“They’re an independent body. If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that,” Cameron said. “But our recommendation was that [Officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove] were justified in their acts and their conduct.”
Even though Mattingly and Cosgrove were the officers that combined to shoot Taylor six times, it was announced last week that the grand jury had decided to not press any charges against them.
The only charges that the grand jury decided upon were three cases of wanton endangerment for former officer Brett Hankison. Hankison was fired from the force in June after it was found that he “blindly” fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment.
Cameron noted last week that there wasn’t conclusive evidence that any of Hankison’s shots hit Taylor. However, some of the bullets did travel into the adjacent apartment where three people unrelated to the case were, which is why Hankison was indicted.
After her death, Taylor became a rallying cry — “Say her name” — for nationwide protests decrying police brutality and systemic racism that were spearheaded by the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement.
Despite lawmakers, celebrities and activists calling for the three officers to be arrested and charged for Taylor’s death, ultimately, none of them were directly held accountable.
The grand jury’s decision sparked outrage and heavy suspicion of Cameron’s motives. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who’s representing the Taylor family, demanded that the transcript of the grand jury proceedings be released to the public.
Cameron sidestepped Crump’s request, saying that grand juries are, by law, secretive.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but prosecutors and Grand Jury members are bound by the facts and by the law,” Cameron spokesperson Elizabeth Kuhn told The Hill at the time. “Attorney General Cameron is committed to doing everything he can to ensure the integrity of the prosecution before him and continue fulfilling his ethical obligations both as a prosecutor and as a partner in the ongoing federal investigation.”
However, on Monday, an anonymous juror from the panel put more pressure on Cameron, filing a motion to have the grand jury transcript and records released.
“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,” Kevin Glogower, the attorney for the juror, said in the filing.
“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 filing went on. “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.”
Cameron initially signaled that he would comply by releasing the records Wednesday, but Tuesday he filed a motion requesting an extra week.
Kuhn told the Louisville Courier Journal that the motion for more time was so that Cameron’s office could “redact personally identifiable information of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers,” citing that the audio recording of the proceedings is 20 hours long.
The judge is expected to rule on Cameron’s last-minute motion Wednesday and Kuhn told the paper that the attorney general’s office would comply with the judge’s order either way.