LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case said Tuesday the jury was not given a chance to weigh charges against two of the three Louisville police officers who fired their weapons into Taylor's apartment.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office only presented wanton endangerment charges against former Detective Brett Hankison for shooting into a nearby unit, according to the grand juror who was given permission by a judge to speak publicly about the jury's work.
No charges were brought against Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who led the undercover raid shortly before 1 a.m. March 13, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who forensic analysis showed fired the shot that killed Taylor.
"Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn't feel they could make them stick," the grand juror said in a statement released by attorney Kevin Glogower.
The anonymous grand juror's statement seeks to refute Cameron's public comments from Sept. 23, when the attorney general spoke shortly after the jury indicted Hankison. Cameron told reporters in Frankfort that his office's investigation "showed — and the grand jury agreed — that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker."
Walker, Taylor's boyfriend and a licensed gun owner, acknowledged firing a single shot as police entered the apartment. He has said he thought officers were intruders.
"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 juror said. "The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I can't speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told."
The juror also pushed back on Cameron's claim from Sept. 23 that his team "walked them through every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available to the grand jury. And then the grand jury was ultimately the one that made the decision about indicting Det. Hankison for wanton endangerment."
The juror said Tuesday that "the grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either."
Cameron said in a statement that he disagreed with Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O'Connell's ruling but will not appeal it.
The statement did not address the juror's claims taking issue with Cameron's previous public statements:
My statement on the Judge's decision today in the case involving the anonymous Grand Juror: pic.twitter.com/47mWaPzbah— Attorney General Daniel Cameron (@kyoag) October 20, 2020
The attorney general said he decided to ask for an indictment on "charges that could be proven under Kentucky law. Indictments obtained in the absence of sufficient proof under the law do not stand up and are not fundamentally fair to anyone."
He said he is confident in his office's presentation to the grand jury.
Brian Butler, a legal expert and former prosecutor, said he was surprised a grand juror issued a public statement. However, he said he wasn't surprised that Cameron presented only certain charges to the grand jury.
"It's within the prosecutor's discretion what charges to recommend to the grand jury for their consideration," he said. "We can all look at that and decide whether we agree with how it was presented or not. That's our system. But no, it's not unusual for a prosecutor to decide, 'I think this charge would be appropriate. I don't think that charge would be appropriate.'"
But Ben Crump, a national civil rights attorney who represents Taylor's family, said the juror's account shows Cameron's "dereliction of duties," and he called for the appointment of an independent prosecutor.
"It is a despicable miscarriage of justice that is disrespectful to the life of Breonna Taylor that AG Cameron whitewashed what his office presented to the grand jury," Crump said.
Speaking on Terry Meiners' radio show on 840 WHAS, Walker attorney Steve Romines said the juror's statement contradicts several things that Cameron has said publicly.
"If he wants to be a politician and run for governor or run for Senate or run whatever he wants, he can do that and he can lie about anything he wants," Romines said. "But when you're a prosecutor and you are handling serious felony cases and murder investigations, you have an obligation of candor and good faith to the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky -- and he has failed to show either of those in this case."
O'Connell, in a ruling Tuesday, allowed the grand juror to talk about the typically secret proceedings.
"This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where, at the time this motion is made, the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null," O'Connell ruled.
O'Connell's order says it is not meant to urge other jurors from the September panel to come forward, but instead "merely grants one grand juror's request to do so and gives others the option."
"No one grand juror speaks for the others, nor does one's statement carry any more weight than another's," she wrote.
O'Connell urged any grand juror who chooses to disclose his or her identity to do so "with extreme caution, for to do so may result in a level of public attention and scrutiny over which this Court will have no control."
Glogower, a Louisville attorney who represents two of the 12 grand jurors, issued statements from both shortly after O'Connell's ruling.
Glogower argued before O'Connell this month that his initial client wanted to address "mischaracterizations laid upon the public."
The second grand juror said in a statement that he or she was "pleased with this result and will be discussing possible next steps with counsel."
In a press conference at the Galt House, Glogower said the grand jurors would not immediately speak with media. He said the attorney general's office could appeal O'Connell's ruling.
Cameron's office had argued against the grand juror's request, contending it would violate oaths of secrecy.
Cameron's staff investigated the Taylor shooting and presented the case to a grand jury, which ultimately indicted one of the three officers who fired their weapons during an undercover raid on her apartment.
The attorney general's office had asked O'Connell to issue a "stay" of her order, if she allowed the grand juror to talk, to give the attorney general time to appeal the decision. O'Connell's order does not mention any delay for an appeal.
O'Connell ruled that the typical reasons to keep a grand juror from speaking were no longer relevant in this case.
She pointed out that the judge presiding over the criminal case of one of the officers had already ordered the grand jury testimony be made public, and Hankison is not a threat to escape.
In addition, the judge noted that the officers involved in serving the warrant have already been publicly identified.
"Thus, whether this grand jury considered charging any other officers involved, or whether any future grand jury were to investigate or consider charges against those officers, their identifies are not secret," according to the ruling.
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