Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Grand juror says prosecutors did not present charges linked to Breonna Taylor's death

Memorial for Breonna Taylor
Memorial for Breonna Taylor. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

A Kentucky judge ordered the release of grand jury records from the Breonna Taylor investigation in order to show whether "publicly elected officials are being honest" about the secret deliberations.

Why it matters: The release of records — plus another court decision allowing grand jurors to speak publicly about proceedings — will shed light on the events leading to the indictment of former officer Brett Hankison, which sparked backlash after it was revealed he would not be charged on any counts directly related to Taylor's death.

Details: A grand jury indicted Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment for endangering Taylor’s neighbors by firing bullets into their apartment. Cameron said the two other officers who fired shots did not face any charges because they were "justified" in firing after they were shot at by Taylor's boyfriend, who believed they were intruders.

  • A day after Hankison’s indictment was announced, a petition demanding charges related to Taylor's death garnered more than 11 million signatures.
  • Two grand jurors later sought legal action to publicly speak about the proceedings.
  • Last week, Hankison and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked the judge to revoke her order to release evidence.

What they’re saying: “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws,” an anonymous grand juror said in a press release on Tuesday.

  • "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 other side: Cameron defended his office's decision, saying in a statement Tuesday, "As Special Prosecutor, it was my 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 anyone."

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