LOUISVILLE, Ky — A grand juror who won a court fight to speak publicly about the Breonna Taylor investigation took issue Tuesday with statements by Kentucky’s attorney general and said the jury was not given the option to consider charges connected to Taylor’s shooting death by police.
The anonymous grand juror had filed suit to speak publicly after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced last month that no officers would be directly charged in the March shooting death of Taylor during a narcotics raid. The grand jury charged one officer with endangering her neighbors.
In a written statement after winning a judge’s permission to break silence in the case, the grand juror, who was not identified, said that only wanton endangerment charges were offered to them to consider against one officer. The grand jury asked questions about bringing other charges against the officers, “and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick,” the grand juror said.
The statement read in full, "After hearing the Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s press conference, and with my duty as a grand juror being over, my duty as a citizen compelled action. The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison. The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either. 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 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. The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told."
The statement from the Glogower Law Office also said that a second anonymous grand juror was pleased with the results and that they were discussing possible next steps with lawyers.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron released his response on Twitter saying he would not appeal the decision. He said as special prosecutor it was his job to investigate and report the facts, adding, "indictments obtained in the absence of sufficient proof under the law do not stand up and are not fundamentally fair to anyone."
Cameron had opposed in court allowing grand jurors to speak about the proceedings.
Grand juries are typically secret meetings, though earlier this month the audio recordings of the proceedings in the Taylor case were released publicly.
Cameron announced the results of the grand jury investigation in a widely viewed news conference on Sept. 23. At that announcement, he 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. Walker’s lone gunshot struck one of the officers in the leg.
The anonymous grand juror challenged Cameron’s comments, saying the panel “didn’t agree that certain actions were justified,” and grand jurors “did not have homicide charges explained to them.”
The grand juror’s attorney, Kevin Glowgower, 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 beyond Tuesday’s statement, Glowgower said.
Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said Cameron “took the decision out of the grand jury’s hands” and said the grand juror’s statement was “confirmation of Cameron’s dereliction of duties.”
Cameron has acknowledged his prosecutors did not introduce any homicide charges against two officers who shot Taylor, and said it was because they were justified in returning fire after Walker shot at them.
Cameron said Tuesday that it was his decision “to ask for an indictment that could be proven under Kentucky law.”
“Indictments obtained in the absence of sufficient proof under the law do not stand up and are not fundamentally fair to any one,” Cameron said in a statement released Tuesday night.
In the ruling allowing the grand jurors to speak, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell wrote that it “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.”
Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was shot multiple times after Walker fired once at white officers executing a narcotics warrant. Walker said he didn’t know it was police and thought it was an intruder. The warrant was approved as part of a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found at her home.
The case has fueled nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.