A petition seeking the impeachment of Kentucky's attorney general was filed Friday by three grand jurors who criticized his handling of an investigation into Breonna Taylor s shooting death by police.
The petition s allegations against Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron include breach of public trust and failure to comply with his duties as the state's chief law enforcement official. They do not accuse him of any crimes, but impeachment is not considered a criminal proceeding.
The petition is the latest in a flurry of tit-for-tat efforts to impeach Kentucky elected officials. Four Kentucky citizens recently petitioned the state House of Representatives to impeach Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for executive actions he took in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the matter was assigned to a House committee for review.
Beshear's actions had been upheld by the state Supreme Court, and the governor says there are “zero grounds” for his removal.
Kentucky law requires impeachment petitions to be referred to a House committee but does not require any further action. Under the state's constitution, the House possesses the sole power of impeachment. An impeachment trial is held in the state Senate, with a conviction requiring the support of two-thirds of the senators present.
The petition against Cameron, signed by a handful of Kentuckians, was submitted to the overwhelmingly Republican Kentucky House. Cameron is a close ally of U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and is seen as a rising GOP star.
Cameron's office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The petition's signers include an attorney who did so on behalf of three grand jurors who have accused Cameron of misleading the public when describing the grand jury proceedings.
Cameron was the special prosecutor who investigated the actions of the Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor during a warrant search last year. The investigation culminated in a grand jury ruling that did not charge any of the officers in the Black woman's death. The shooting sparked protests in Louisville alongside national protests over racial injustice and police misconduct.
The petition is the latest seeking the ouster of prominent Kentucky officeholders. Another petition is seeking the ouster of Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth for an incident in which he allegedly tried to strangle a woman. Goforth, a former gubernatorial candidate, pleaded not guilty after his indictment on charges of strangulation and assault. The case is pending.
The petition against Cameron revives allegations raised anonymously by the three grand jurors. It accuses him of deceiving the public regarding his handling of the investigation into Taylor's death.
Cameron had said in a widely viewed news conference that the grand jury had agreed that the officers who shot Taylor were justified because they were fired at by Taylor’s boyfriend. Officers fired 32 rounds into the home, five of which struck Taylor.
The three grand jurors said they did not agree and wanted to explore criminal charges, but said they were denied because Cameron’s prosecutors believed none of those charges would stick.
The impeachment petition was signed on their behalf by their Louisville attorney, Kevin Glogower.
“The grand jurors did not choose this battle,” Glogower said in a statement Friday. “This battle chose them. These are randomly selected citizens who were compelled to sit on a grand jury and were terribly misused by the most powerful law enforcement official in Kentucky."
Lovan reported from Louisville, Kentucky.