Days after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron released 15 hours of audio from grand jury proceedings related to the killing of Breonna Taylor, attorneys for Taylor’s family are calling for Gov. Andy Beshear to appoint a new special prosecutor.
As ABC News reports, Taylor’s family wants the case against the Louisville Metro Police who fatally shot her to be reopened, criticizing Cameron for not presenting homicide charges for the grand jury to consider.
“Cameron did not serve as an unbiased prosecutor in this case and intentionally did not present charges to the grand jury that would have pursued justice for Ms. Taylor,” read the open letter, which was shared by attorney Ben Crump.
“It’s an affront to justice that after Louisville police officers unlawfully broke into Breonna Taylor’s apartment and fatally shot her five times, only one officer faces minor charges, and for the bullets that didn’t hit Ms. Taylor,” the letter continued, referring to the three charges of wanton endangerment facing former LMPD detective Brett Hankison.
The letter requested 10,000 signatures to support the petition. As of Monday afternoon, 8,000 people had signed on to the letter.
“Together, we demand a new grand jury to reopen Breonna Taylor’s case, immediately,” wrote Taylor’s attorneys.
Less than two weeks have passed since the grand jury announced its indictments in the Taylor case, but the aftermath of the announcement has brought about a number of substantial twists and turns. Last week, an anonymous member of the grand jury asked for Cameron to release audio from the proceedings, as well as permission to speak freely about the process. Following a judge’s ruling that the audio be released to the court as part of Hankison’s case file, Cameron turned over 15 hours out of a reported 20+ hours of audio detailing what prosecutors presented to the jury.
The audio included witness testimony and helped shed light on concerns voiced by jurors. But the recordings did not include Cameron’s recommendations to the grand jury on what charges to bring forward.
Taylor’s family has taken issue with how state prosecutors handled the case, suggesting that Cameron’s office was not thorough in their presentation of the evidence.
Cameron admitted last week that he only recommended one charge in the Taylor case—wanton endangerment against Hankison. In his earlier comments, Cameron had implied the jury agreed with him in deciding not to press harsher charges against the LMPD officers. The anonymous grand juror took issue with this claim, saying they were not aware they could press charges against Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fatally shot Taylor that night.
“When the grand jurors asked about seeing more body camera video and they actually wanted to see all the body camera video the prosecutor said, ‘we don’t have time,’” family attorney Lonita Baker told WHAS11 News. “That’s also overstepping their role as an adviser to the grand jury.”
Also at issue is whether LMPD announced their presence at Taylor’s home on March 13. Attorneys for Taylor’s family say 11 witnesses told them they hadn’t heard officers announce themselves. The one witness who told grand jurors he did hear police announce their presence had previously told investigators he hadn’t heard them do so.
Detectives seeking the “no-knock warrant” at the 26-year-old emergency medical technician’s home on March 13 testified they’d announced their presence, saying they were explicitly told to do so because Taylor’s goddaughter could be in the apartment.
The detectives also admitted to jurors that the actual target of the drug raid performed at Taylor’s home—her ex-boyfriend—was already in police custody by the time officers arrived at her apartment.