Breonna Taylor case: Judge releases 15 hours of grand jury recordings

Breonna Taylor grand jury audio recordings released

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A judge agreed Wednesday to give Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron more time to release the secret grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case after he asked for a delay hours before the recordings were expected to be made public.

Cameron has faced questions over his grand jury presentation since jurors declined last week to indict any Louisville police officers on homicide charges in Taylor’s March 13 death. He said Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were justified in the shooting. Former Detective Brett Hankison faces charges for endangering the lives of the people in the apartment next door.

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT Oct. 2: Nearly 15 hours of audio recordings from the grand jury into the killing of Breonna Taylor were released Friday, The New York Times reported.

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The judge ordered their release by noon Friday after originally requesting their release earlier in the week, The Times reported. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron had asked for more time to release them in order to redact personal information about witnesses and others.

Written transcripts have not been released, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

No charges were brought against the three officers involved in her death. One officer was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

The recordings are expected to give insight into the grand jury’s decisions.

Update 9:15 a.m. EDT Oct. 1: Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith pushed back the deadline for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release grand jury recordings in the Breonna Taylor case after he asked for extra time to redact personal information from the record, the Courier Journal reported.

In a motion filed in court this week, Cameron asked Smith to push the deadline by one week from Wednesday to Oct. 7, “in the interest of protection of witnesses, and in particular private citizens named in recordings,” WDRB reported. In a statement obtained by the Courier Journal, Cameron’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Kuhn, said officials want to “redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both names and personal identifiers of any private citizen.”

The recordings are set to be turned over to the court by 12 p.m. Friday, WDRB reported.

Update 11 a.m. EDT Sept. 30: In a motion filed in court and obtained by the Courier Journal, Cameron’s office asked a judge to delay the release of grand jury recordings by one week to allow officials to “redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both names and personal identifiers of any private citizen.”

The filing said the delay is necessary “in the interest of protection of witnesses, and in particular private citizens named in the recordings.”

Cameron told WDRB on Tuesday that he did not present the grand jury with charges for Mattingly or Cosgrove because he determine it was “not appropriate.”

“The charge that we could prove at trial, beyond reasonable doubt, was for wanton endangerment against Mr. Hankison,” Cameron told WDRB.

Original report: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron plans to release a recording Wednesday of grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case after an unidentified juror urged a judge to make the information public “so that the truth may prevail.”

Cameron said in a statement obtained by WAVE that his office will comply with a judge’s order to release the recording, though he said his team believes the release could compromise an ongoing federal investigation into the shooting.

The grand jury declined last week to bring homicide charges against the three Louisville police officers who shot and killed Taylor in her apartment on March 13.

Jurors indicted former Louisville Detective Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for opening fire on Taylor’s apartment from outside, endangering the lives of three people in the apartment next door. Cameron said jurors determined Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were justified in the shooting, though he declined to elaborate, citing the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

In the motion filed Monday, a juror said Cameron “attempted to make it very clear that the grand jury alone made the decision on who and what to charge based solely on the evidence presented to them.” The juror asked a judge to make public the process that led to last week’s charging decision.

The decision, which Taylor’s mother slammed as proof that “the police and law were not made to protect us black and brown women,” spawned questions over the evidence presented to the grand jury and fueled protests in cities nationwide. In the motion filed Monday, the juror accused Cameron of using the grand jury “as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions” sowing “more seeds of doubt in the process while leaving a cold chill down the spines of future grand jurors.”

“There is a compelling public interest for (the grand jury) proceedings to be released of a magnitude the city and Commonwealth have never seen before that could not be confined, weaving its way across the country,” the juror’s motion says. “The public interest spreads across the entire Commonwealth when the highest law enforcement official fails to answer questions and instead refers to the grand jury making the decisions.”

Cameron said jurors determined that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the shooting because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kevin Walker, opened fire on police first, although a ballistics report obtained by the Courier Journal appeared to contradict that finding.

“Once the public listens to the recording, they will see that over the course of two-and-a-half days, our team presented a thorough and complete case to the Grand Jury,” Cameron said, according to WAVE. “Our prosecutors presented all of the evidence.”

It remained unclear whether the grand jury seriously considered charges against Mattingly and Cosgrove.

During a court appearance Monday, Hankison pleaded not guilty to charges against him. A Jefferson County judge ordered he be held on a bail of $15,000, CNN reported. He is expected to appear next in court on Oct. 28.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.