Frankfort, KY – The state’s attorney general is trying to stop a grand juror from speaking publicly about the workings of the secret grand jury that heard the prosecutors’ presentation in the Breonna Taylor shooting case.
A judge ordered the recordings and documents related to the grand jury presentation added to the Taylor case file a week ago in response to a lawsuit that was filed by a grand juror, CNN reported.
The lawsuit, filed by a grand juror who wanted to remain anonymous, also requested that they be allowed to speak freely about the case, FOX News reported.
“There is compelling public interest for these proceedings to be released of a magnitude the city and Commonwealth have never seen before that could not be confined, weaving its way across the country,” the lawsuit claimed. “The citizens of the Commonwealth have demonstrated their lack of faith in the process and proceedings in this matter and the justice system itself.”
The judge has not yet ruled on the grand juror’s request to speak openly about the grand jury proceedings in the case.
On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion to dismiss the suit and said that granting that permission to the plaintiff could risk the safety of and anonymity of the other grand jurors and have a chilling effect on future sessions, CBS News reported.
“As I’ve stated prior, I have no concerns with a grand juror sharing their thoughts or opinions about me and my office’s involvement in the matter involving the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor,” Cameron said in a statement late on Wednesday afternoon after the motion had been filed. “However, I have concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings.”
“The grand jury process is secretive for a reason, to protect the safety and anonymity of all the grand jurors, witnesses, and innocent persons involved in the proceedings,” the attorney general said. “Allowing this disclosure would irreversibly alter Kentucky’s legal system by making it difficult for prosecutors and the public to have confidence in the secrecy of the grand jury process going forward.”
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) Officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into another apartment during the raid at Taylor’s.
Cameron said that apartment was occupied by three people, including a pregnant woman and a child.
The attorney general told reporters that his office’s investigation had determined that, despite the fact the officers had a “no knock” warrant the night Taylor was shot, police announced themselves before they attempted to enter the resident.
He said that an independent civilian witness had confirmed having heard the officers announce themselves.
The attorney general said it was after that clear announcement that police busted through the door and saw a man and woman at the end of the hallway.
LMPD Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly was immediately shot, according to Cameron.
“Kenneth Walker fired the shot that hit Sgt. Mattingly,” the attorney general confirmed.
He debunked claims by Walker that Sgt. Mattingly was shot by a fellow officer during the chaos that ensued.
Cameron said Sgt. Mattingly was struck by a 9mm bullet from Walker’s weapon and officers had been carrying 40-caliber weapons.
He said that after Walker opened fire, “Mattingly fired six shots, and Cosgrove fired 16 shots simultaneously.”
He said that none of Officer Hankison’s shots hit Taylor.
Regardless, the attorney general said the ruling was clear – “Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after being fired on by Walker.”
Cameron explained that the grand jury voted to return an indictment against former Officer Hankison for wantonly placing the three people in Apartment 3 in danger, not for shooting Taylor.
The attorney general said that homicide charges were not applicable in the case because the investigation “showed that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire.”
He said he thought it was unlikely that there would be any other prosecutions related to the incident.
Cameron urged the community to ignore those who would try to incite unrest in Louisville in response to the grand jury’s decision.
“The truth is now before us, the facts have been examined, and a grand jury comprised of our peers and fellow citizens has rendered a decision,” the attorney general told reporters, putting a lid on the criminal case.
He has said repeatedly that the grand jury could have levied additional charges against the other officers if they had wanted to do so based on the evidence presented, CBS News reported.
Cameron said the FBI will continue to investigate potential civil rights violations.