Breonna Taylor’s family slams AG Cameron, demands he release grand jury transcript

By Rick Childress, Lexington Herald-Leader

Sep. 25 (Tribune News Service) — Breonna Taylor’s mother and attorney called on state Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Friday to release the transcript of the grand jury proceedings that led to no indictments of officers for the woman’s killing.

Ben Crump, the attorney for Taylor’s family, demanded at a Friday press conference in Louisville, to know if any evidence or witnesses related to Taylor’s death were provided to the jury. The grand jury decision, which was announced Wednesday, notably only charged Louisville police investigator Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment over bullets shot into an apartment neighboring Taylor’s.

“Did he present any evidence on Breonna Taylor’s behalf?” Crump said. “Or did he make a unilateral decision to put his thumb on the scales of justice to help try to exonerate and justify the killing of Breonna Taylor by these police officers and in doing so made sure that Breonna Taylor’s family never got their day in court?”

Advertisement

Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said via a statement that was read aloud to the crowd, that she never had faith in Cameron to secure charges against the officers related to Taylor’s death, and called the attorney general “too inexperienced to do a job of this caliber.”

“I knew he had already chosen to be on the wrong side of the law the moment he wanted the grand jury to make the decision,” read Palmer’s statement, which was read by her sister Bianca Austin, with Palmer standing beside her. “What I had hoped is that he knew he had the power to do the right thing. He had the power to start the healing of this city. That he had the power to end over 400 years of oppression. What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them.”

At a press conference following the announcement of the charges Wednesday, Cameron said he would not release the grand jury’s racial makeup and would not give a legal reason why he would not release that information. He also said he would not be releasing the full grand jury report.

“Criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief, and that is true here,” Cameron said on Wednesday. “But my heart breaks for the loss of Ms. Taylor.”

The 33-year-old Cameron was elected the state’s attorney general in November 2019. He was legal counsel for Sen. Mitch McConnell from 2015 to 2017. Later, Cameron left Washington to become a private lawyer and lobbyist in Louisville with the firm of Frost Brown Todd.

Lonita Baker, another attorney for Taylor’s family, said they don’t want to hear Cameron say that he can’t release the transcript because recordings from a grand jury which voted to indict Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, with attempted murder, were released.

Cameron dodged reporters’ questions Wednesday on if he ever made a recommendation to the grand jury for any charges related to Taylor’s death, Baker said.

“I don’t want to hear that the grand jury determined this if it’s your office that unilaterally determined not to charge any officers with the death of Breonna Taylor,” Baker said.

Baker also called on Cameron to appoint a special prosecutor to put the case before another grand jury seeking charges against the officers related specifically to Taylor’s death.

Officers Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly went to Taylor’s apartment on the night of March 13 to execute a no-knock warrant. After the investigators entered Taylor’s apartment, Walker fired at an officer, striking him in the leg.

Walker previously said that he and Taylor were asleep when officers breached the door and the couple didn’t know who was entering. Cameron said Wednesday that the officers knocked and announced themselves before breaching the door, based on the accounts of the officers and one civilian witness.

The officers returned fire, shooting Taylor six times, once fatally. She died in the hallway of her apartment a few seconds or minutes after being shot, Cameron said Wednesday.

The indictments announced Wednesday have given fuel to protests in Louisville, Lexington and across the country. On Thursday night in Louisville, more than 20 were arrested, including state Rep. Attica Scott, who was also present at Friday’s press conference. In Lexington, hundreds took to the streets, including several UK students. Four were arrested and charged with misdemeanors.

(c)2020 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Advertisement