Great Britain

Breonna Taylor: Attorney general asks to delay release of grand jury documents

Kentucky’s attorney general has asked to delay the release of grand jury recordings and documents involved with proceedings that failed to indict any officers for the killing of  Breonna Taylor.

In a motion filed on Wednesday, Attorney General Daniel Cameron has asked for another week to redact identifying information from jury transcripts and recordings “in the interest of protection of witnesses, and in particular private citizens named in the recordings,” he argued.

The materials were expected to be filed on Wednesday, following a lawsuit from an anonymous juror who accused the attorney general of using the grand jury’s secrecy as a “shield” to mislead the public following indictments against now-former Louisville Metro Police Department detective Brett Hankison.

Mr Hankinson was fired three months after her death for "wantonly and blindly" firing 10 rounds into the building, for which he was charged with wanton endangerment, a felony.

None of the officers were charged for the killing of Ms Taylor, including two officers who fired the six shots that hit her.

The attorney general told local news outlet WDRB this week that he said the grand jury was never presented with murder charges.

He said it was "not appropriate" to recommend charges officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove

"If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that," he said. "But our recommendation was that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their acts and their conduct."

Ms Taylor, a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician, was at home in bed with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker on 13 March when officers used a ram to break the door to her apartment shortly after midnight.

All officers fired their weapons, the attorney general revealed, but officers Mattingly and Cosgrove were “justified in their return of deadly fire" because Mr Walker had fired first, he said.

That justification “bars” the office from pursuing criminal charges against them, he said.

Mr Hankison has pleaded not guilty.

The lawsuit was filed just days after the indictment was announced “so that the truth may prevail,” the motion argued.

It also asks that the jurors be allowed to speak about the case as a matter of public interest.

“It is patently unjust for the jurors to be subjected to the level of accountability the attorney general campaigned for simply because they received a summons to serve their community at a time that adherence to the summons forced them to be involved in a matter that has caused such a palpable divide between sides,” the motion argued.

In a statement on Monday announcing that his office would comply with the request to release the documents, AG Cameron reiterated that “the grand jury is meant to be a secretive body" and that “it’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.”

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