Kentucky Attorney General Defends Grand Jury Process In The Breonna Taylor Case

On Monday, Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron discredited all accusations by Breonna Taylor’s family that he mishandled the case, which ended with no officers being charged for Taylor’s death.

The Attorney General’s office explained the circumstances that gave Cameron control over the grand jury process, saying it possessed the “resources required to complete the investigation.”

Daniel Cameron

In an email to NPR, spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn wrote, “Our office was asked to appoint a special prosecutor because of a conflict of interest by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who at the time was pursuing the prosecution of Mr. Kenneth Walker.”

Kenneth Walker was Taylor’s boyfriend, who was with her the night of the botched raid.

“The law allowed for the Attorney General to appoint a prosecutor from another jurisdiction to oversee the case, but given the importance of the case and the resources required to complete the investigation, the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions proceeded with handling the investigation and prosecution,” Kuhn continued.

The explanation comes after the release of 15 hours of audio recording from the grand jury proceedings and in response to an open letter from Taylor’s attorney, Ben Crump. Apparently, Crump believes that Cameron failed to serve as an unbiased prosecutor, and as a result, is calling for a new prosecutor to reopen the case.

The letter was posted to Crump’s website over the weekend, urging Cameron to dismiss himself from future legal proceedings related to Taylor’s death by Louisville Metro Police Officers.

Crump noted that Cameron was asked by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to elect a new special prosecutor to investigate the charges brought against the three officers involved in the fatal shooting. Instead, Attorney General Cameron decided to prosecute the case himself.

“It is now clearer than ever that this was a case where you decided early on that your office would never actually prosecute against officers [Myles] Cosgrove, [Jonathan] Mattingly, and anyone else responsible for the unlawful death of Breonna Taylor,” Crump said in the letter.

“Because your office is unwilling to fulfill your duties, we demand you that you recuse yourself from this matter and have the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council appoint a special prosecutor who is willing to allow a grand jury to actually do its job, deliberate over all possible charges and render a decision on a True Bill for each,” he added.

Initially, the attorney general did not answer any questions about the charges he presented to the grand jury, but once the audio recordings of the court were released, he said that he didn’t suggest any charges for the officers who murdered Taylor.

Former LMPD detective Brett Hankison was indicted last month on three charges of wanton endangerment for blindly firing into the apartments during the raid. Officers Cosgrove and Mattingly were not indicted, and they still remain on the force.

Protest have continued in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict the officers responsible for Taylor’s death. In fact, according to NPR’s Martin Kaste, “It’s revived long-standing doubts about the role of grand juries, especially in cases that involve police.”

Attorney Heather Crabbe, who was a public defender for six-year in Kentucky, told WFPL that “A prosecutor leads the grand jury to whatever he needs them to be led to.”

“A prosecutor tells the jury, you know, the charges before them, and they will present the evidence in a way that will lead to the result that they want,” she added.

As a result, Crabbe believes that there most likely will not be a second grand jury since the Attorney General never attempted to bring charges to the officers responsible for Taylor’s death.

“For the AG to do that, I think he would have to walk back a lot of what he’s already done,” she said, “and he’d have to do a lot of legal gymnastics to explain why Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment, for shots that he missed, that went into someone else’s apartment, and why the other officers were not charged in Breonna Taylor’s death.”

 

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