A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has claimed the panel was split on whether the police shooting was justified, contrary to claims made by Kentucky’s AG, but an officer involved argues the deadly drug raid was by the book.
An individual identified only as “Grand Juror #1” by lawyer Kevin Glogower released a statement on Tuesday alleging prosecutors did not provide the grand jury options for homicide charges or explain the relevant laws – even though jurors asked about them – and that the panel was not in full agreement about whether the officers’ actions were justified on the night of Taylor’s death.
“Questions were asked about the additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick,” the statement said, adding that jurors were presented only with one wanton endangerment charge for former Louisville police Detective Brett Hankison.
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 anonymous juror’s attorney just sent out a press release with a statement by the juror. It confirms what many have suspected: “The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison.” pic.twitter.com/LB5hMjrzfU
The statement came hours after Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell ruled that grand jurors in the Taylor case may freely discuss the panel’s deliberations, which are typically kept secret. O’Connell said the “traditional justifications for secrecy in this matter are no longer relevant,” adding that the jurors may speak openly about the case to determine if “publicly elected officials are being honest.”
While Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has previously stated the panel was “walked through all the homicide offenses” and that “the grand jury agreed” the officers were “justified” in opening fire into Taylor’s apartment on the night of the ill-fated drug raid, “Grand Juror #1” has challenged those characterizations.
Cameron responded to the ruling in a statement on Tuesday night, saying he disagrees with the decision but would not appeal it, adding that he remains “confident in our presentation to the grand jury, and I stand by the team of lawyers and investigators who dedicated months of work to this case.”
One of the officers involved in the shooting, Jonathan Mattingly, came forward with his own account of the incident for the first time on Tuesday, insisting the case was not at all similar to other police shootings that have stoked mass protests across the US and that he and his colleagues handled the raid correctly.
“This is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that,” Mattingly told ABC and the Louisville Courier-Journal in a joint interview, adding “It’s not Ahmaud Arbery. It’s nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences.”
It’s not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It’s not. This is a point where we were doing our job, we gave too much time when we go in, I get shot, we returned fire… This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that.
Mattingly also alleged the Taylor case has been surrounded by “misinformation” and “false narratives,” calling the investigation and grand jury proceedings “excruciating,” because “When you have the truth right there in your hands and everything else is getting crammed around you, it’s frustrating.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was fatally shot six times during a drug raid on her apartment by the Louisville Metro Police Department in March. Police returned a barrage of shots after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire as the officers forced entry into the apartment. Walker, however, maintains that the plainclothes officers did not announce themselves and that he believed they were intruders.
While a federal probe into the shooting is ongoing, to date Hankison is the only officer to be charged in the incident, facing three counts of wanton endangerment, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
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