Written By @cabbagepatchgrl
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has been receiving criticism on how he is handling the Breonna Taylor case. On Tuesday, he said that he recommended no murder charges be filed against the officers involved in Taylor’s death despite the evidence against them.
Cameron did recommend that one of the officers receive charges for wanton endangerment for firing bullets that entered neighboring apartments but said that the other two officers whose bullets hit Taylor were “justified in their acts.”
During an interview on WDRB, Cameron said, “Our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment.”
The statement was called into question after he made comments last week at a news conference. He said he walked jurors through “every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available.”
Taylor’s family and activists were upset when they found out that the grand jury followed Cameron’s recommendation of holding none of the officers accountable for her death. The decision only fueled more demonstrations and called for transparency in a case that has sowed public distrust in the justice system and the outcry over police killings of Black Americans.
On March 13, Taylor was killed during a drug raid that took place in her home. No drugs were ever found in the apartment.
In a court motion filed on Monday, a grand juror criticized Cameron’s characterization of the proceedings. They accused him of “using grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility” for the charging decisions.
The motion is requesting that the proceedings be made public and that the jurors be allowed to speak publicly about the case. Kevin Glogower, an attorney for one of the jurors, said that his client believes that Cameron “may not have presented” all the evidence to the grand jury. Glogower said, “The primary concern that our client has is, if you watched the news conference after the reading of the indictment, the attorney general laid a lot of responsibility at the grand jurors’ feet.” He added that Cameron’s office has since “attempted to walk that back.”
However, Cameron said he will release a recording of the grand jury proceedings, though he believes that his team has presented “a thorough and complete case” to the grand jury. During the WDRB interview, he said that the jurors are free to file any indictments they deem reasonable, regardless of his recommendations.
“They’re an independent body,” he said, adding, ”If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that.”
As he continued, the Attorney General also said he did not recommend murder charges because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at the officers first. Walker admitted to firing first but only because he thought the officers were intruders.
On Monday, officer Brett Hankison pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. The judge ordered that a recording of the grand jury proceeding be added to the court file by Wednesday at noon.
The attorneys for Taylor’s family, as well as state and local leaders, which included Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, wanted Cameron to make the secretive grand jury process public since questions surfaced over the announcement of the officer’s charges.
On Tuesday, the attorneys for Taylor’s family said in a statement, “Since the grand jury decision was announced, we’ve been saying that Daniel Cameron clearly failed to present a comprehensive case that supported justice for Breonna,” They added, “that conclusion is supported by the grand juror who came forward to say that the attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations. We fully support the call to release the entire proceeding transcript as the only way to know what evidence was presented and how the grand jury instructions led to this outcome.”
One of the unknown jurors also brought up some concerns, saying that without a judge’s order, Cameron “would attempt to utilize the court’s contempt powers … if there was a public disclosure that contradicted certain things that he stated happened during the proceedings, characterized the singularity of the decision in a different light, or raised doubts about charges that were presented during the proceedings.”
Glogower said that all questions might not be answered after hearing the recording of the grand jury’s proceedings. As a result, he said that it is important that jurors be allowed to speak about what happened publicly.
He said, “What they’re not telling you in Cameron’s release, which is still a question, is what was actually presented to them, if anything,” He continues, “What were those charges, who were the potential defendants, and then what was the recommendation if any?”
But, According to the Attorney General’s office, they believe that sharing the information about the proceedings would be inappropriate, seeing as though it is a criminal case and that the federal investigation is ongoing.