Breonna Taylor Case: 2 Grand Jurors Tell ‘CBS This Morning’ Police Actions Were ‘Criminal’ Before Her Death
The jurors said they wanted to speak out following Cameron’s September announcement because they said he falsely represented their positions on potential indictments of officers involved in Taylor’s death, according to “CBS This Morning.”
Two grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with Gayle King, which aired on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday. Flanked by their attorney, Kevin Glogower, the two anonymous jurors said prosecutors never gave them opportunity to consider indicting officers on more serious charges in her death — which they said left them feeling frustrated and disgusted.
One of the panelists, called Juror No. 2, told King that police actions the night Taylor was killed by officers serving a no-knock warrant were "criminal” and and riddled with "deception."
"They were criminal leading up to this in everything that they — the way they moved forward on it, including the warrant," the unnamed juror said.
The two spoke anonymously, citing concerns for their safety in the controversial case.
Requests for comment from Inside Edition Digital to the Louisville Metro Police Department and the union representing its officers have not been answered.
In September, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury had not charged any of the officers in Taylor's death and believed their conduct was justified in the circumstances. One officer, former Detective Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighboring apartment. He has pleaded not guilty.
Cameron said he and the grand jury had been reviewing the case for months.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot to death in her Louisville home on March 13.
A panelist identified as Juror No. 1 told King the grand jury wanted to consider other charges, but were told "there would be none because the prosecutors didn't feel they could make them stick."
“They never gave us anything to deliberate on anything but the charges for Hankison, that was it,” said Juror No. 1 “As a matter of fact, when they announced that those were the only charges there was (an) uproar in that room. There were several more charges that could have gone further on all of those officers, at least the three shooters.”
The jurors said they were speaking out because Cameron’s had falsely represented their positions in a September conference in which he said, "While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed, and the grand jury agreed, that (two officers)were justified in their return of deadly fire.”
Juror No. 1 said that was the first time he heard anything about possible murder charges. "It was not presented to us," he said.
Juror No. 2 agreed, saying, "By the time I heard what he was saying, everything that came out of his mouth, I was saying, 'Liar.' Cause we didn't agree to anything."
A request for comment from Inside Edition Digital to Cameron’s office was not immediately answered Wednesday but Cameron told a local Kentucky TV station in September that if the grand jury "wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that."
In September, Taylor’s estate was awarded $12 million by the city in damages. The mayor also announced sweeping police reform.
In documentation previously obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal, police were authorized to carry out a “no-knock” warrant on Taylor’s Louisville home on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation of a person who lived in a home 10 miles away. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used to receive drugs.
"They couldn't even provide a risk assessment," Juror No. 1 told King of the police department. "It sounded like they hadn't done one."
The same juror also accused the department of being "negligent" throughout the entire process leading up to and after the night in question.
"Their organization leading up to this was lacking… that's what I mean by they were negligent in the operation," he added.
Authorities said they identified themselves, despite the “no-knock” warrant. Police said the officers were “immediately” met by gunfire when they entered Taylor and Walker's home, at which point they returned fire. Walker has maintained that they did not identify themselves.
Walker called 911 during the ordeal and he was informed he'd shot an officer. He was initially charged with attempted murder, but his charges were later dropped after he said he shot in self-defense thinking he and Taylor were victims of a home invasion.
The 911 call was presented to the grand jury as evidence and Juror No. 2 told King that the "distress" in Walker's voice made it plausible he didn’t know that it was the police inside his home.
"He didn't know who it was that was coming in, you know. He had no idea," he said. "Everything about what he said was believable. It made sense all the way through."
Both jurors agreed Walker was credible, however, both said the police were not.
"There are too many inconsistencies in their story," Juror No. 1 told King. "I understand that, you know, in a situation like that, you may not remember… but I didn't find their testimony credible."
Juror No. 2 accused police of covering up their mistakes.
"From the evidence that I heard, this thing started out downhill to begin with… You don't need seven cops to go up to somebody's door and knock on it and say, 'You know, we're here to do an investigation,' at one in the morning," Juror No. 2 said. "It was one mistake right after the other one… They covered it up. That's what the evidence that I saw. And I felt like there should have been lots more charges on them."
In the wake of Taylor's death, the city has banned "no-knock" warrants.
In June, Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department. He is currently contesting his termination. Officers Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, whose bullets hit Taylor, have not been charged. Kentucky’s attorney general has stated their use of force was justified because Walker fired first.
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