Kentucky court to release grand jury recordings in Breonna Taylor shooting probe Wednesday
Victim's family, juror had called for release of grand jury material
Kentucky's attorney general acknowledged that he never recommended homicide charges against any of the police officers conducting the drug raid that led to Breonna Taylor's death, and said he didn't object to a judge's order to publicly release the grand jury's deliberations.
Amid outrage over the jury's decision last week to not charge any of the officers for Taylor's fatal shooting, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Monday that he didn't object to the public release of the proceedings or to any members of the panel speaking publicly about their experience.
"We have no concerns with grand jurors sharing their thoughts on our presentation because we are confident in the case we presented," Cameron said in a written statement.
A judge ordered the record released during the arraignment hearing for Officer Brett Hankison, the lone officer indicted by the grand jury.
Cameron said the grand jury is meant to be a "secretive body," but said "it's apparent that the public interest in this case isn't going to allow that to happen."
The attorney general said a record of the proceedings would be released Wednesday, and that the public "will see that over the course of two-and-a-half days, our team presented a thorough and complete case to the grand jury."
Family calls for release of complete record
An attorney for Taylor's family reiterated the need to release the complete record.
"Since the grand jury decision was announced, we've been saying that Daniel Cameron clearly failed to present a comprehensive case that supported justice for Breonna," attorney Ben Crump said in a news release Tuesday.
In his statement, Cameron also acknowledged that the only charge he recommended to the grand jury was wanton endangerment. He had previously declined to provide details on what charges prosecutors brought to the grand jury to consider when it met last week.
On Monday, a grand juror, who was not identified, filed a court motion asking a judge to release the record of the grand jury proceedings.
Last week, the grand jury in Louisville issued charges against one of the officers, Brett Hankison, for endangering neighbours of Taylor who had bullets fired into their home.
None of the the officers were charged in the killing of Taylor, who was shot five times after officers knocked down her door to serve a narcotics warrant on March 13.
LISTEN l No criminal charges, but civil rights probe ongoing:
At an arraignment for Hankison on Monday, a judge ordered the grand jury recordings be released.
Last week, members of Taylor's family as well as their attorney called on the attorney general to release details of the grand jury presentation.
A spokesperson from the office of the attorney general told CBC News in an emailed statement on Tuesday the office was "confident in the case we presented" but will reluctantly comply with the judge's order.
"As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the Grand Jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool," said Elizabeth Kuhn.
"Despite these concerns, we will comply with the Judge's order to release the recording."
Grand jury release relatively rare
Cameron said last week that two of the officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were justified in firing their weapons because Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had fired at them.
"Our prosecutors presented all of the evidence, even though the evidence supported that Sgt. Mattingly and Det. Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker," Cameron said in the statement. "For that reason, the only charge recommended was wanton endangerment."
But the public deserves to know if any other criminal charges were explored by the grand jury aside from Cameron's recommendation, said attorney Kevin Glogower, who is representing a grand juror who sued to have the recordings released.
"We still don't know what charges, if any, were presented outside of that recommendation," Glogower told reporters Tuesday morning.
He said Cameron has "yet to answer what was actually presented as far as the charges and the individual they were directed to. I think that's important to know and my client feels the same."
Such a public disclosure of grand jury minutes is rare. Most states have laws that would make it impossible. Other states, such as California, allow it under very specific circumstances, and some places require a judge's order.
Grand jury transcripts were released in the police shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri. But a judge refused to release the minutes of the grand jury that decided not to indict New York City officers in Eric Garner's death in 2014, citing in part concerns over secrecy. In Georgia, the 11th Circuit this year ruled against releasing grand jury records in the 1946 lynching of two Black couples.
Hankison, who was fired from the force for his actions during the raid, pleaded not guilty on Monday.
The City of Louisville earlier this month announced it had reached a settlement with Taylor's family, agreeing to pay $12 million US and to reform police practices.
With files from CBC News