At the behest of a juror involved in grand jury proceedings into the killing of Breonna Taylor by officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Friday delivered recordings of the deliberations, which show there were in fact conflicting stories between the witnesses on the night of the shooting and the police who were involved.
Cameron however, did not release any audio recordings of the recommendations or instructions he gave to the jurors, reports the New York Times.
The grand jury ultimately moved to indict just one officer—Brett Hankison—on charges of wanton endangerment for shooting into Taylor’s neighboring apartments during the incident in which LMPD officers shot the 26-year-old multiple times, killing her.
Much of the evidence heard by the jury dealt with whether the police announced themselves before using a battering ram to enter Taylor’s apartment.
From the NY Times:
Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said in the recordings that he was “scared to death” when he and Ms. Taylor heard pounding on the door in the middle of the night and got no response after they yelled, “Who is it?”
The officers involved in the raid, though, insisted in interviews with investigators that they had loudly identified themselves as the police before they burst through the door. It was only after one officer was shot by Mr. Walker, they said, that they opened fire at the couple, killing Ms. Taylor.
“Next thing I know, she’s on the ground and the door’s busted open and I hear a bunch of yelling and just panicking,” Mr. Walker said about Ms. Taylor in an interview with investigators in March that was played for the grand jury last week. “And she’s right here bleeding,” he added. “And nobody’s coming, and I’m just confused and scared.”
All but one of Taylor’s neighbors interviewed by investigators about the night say they did not hear police introduce themselves, though they did hear loud pounding on a door and later heard Walker crying and screaming for help.
Jurors also heard the testimony of a neighbor who said the smell of gunpowder was heavy across the complex (police had fired 32 rounds total, Cameron has said), as well as from one of the cops involved in the raid who described a situation in which he felt lost and was firing blindly as a result, leading one juror to question if he has a history of panic attacks.
From NY Times again:
Detective Myles Cosgrove, who the F.B.I. said fired the shot that killed Ms. Taylor, described in the audio being uncertain about exactly what occurred during the chaos after the police used a battering ram to burst into Ms. Taylor’s apartment.
“I just sensed that I’ve fired,” Detective Cosgrove said in an interview last month that was played for the jurors. But, he added: “It’s like a surreal thing. If you told me I didn’t do something at that time, I’d believe you. If you told me I did do something, I’d probably believe you, too.”
Jurors also heard Hankison on a radio call during the raid claiming that someone was inside Taylor’s apartment with an “A.R.”—shorthand for the AR 15 semi-automatic rifle.
No evidence of such a weapon was found in Taylor’s home, and the jurors also questioned whether the officers retrieved any drugs or related paraphernalia from the raid—to which the answer by investigators was no—and why the officers were not wearing activated body cameras.
Though Cameron has said that the jurors were free to pursue additional charges against the officers outside of the indictment of Hankison for wanton endangerment, the Washington Post reports that he actually recommended this single indictment to the grand jury and told them that the other two officers’ actions were justified.
“Our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment,” Cameron said in an interview Tuesday with local television station WDRB.
The statement cast doubt on comments he had made during a news conference last week, when Cameron said he walked jurors through “every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available.”
The grand jury followed Cameron’s recommendation, holding no one accountable for Taylor’s death.
Cameron said there were no recordings available of his directions to the grand jury because those statements “are not evidence.”
The audio from the grand jury’s deliberations was released after a juror sued last week for them to be made public, saying the attorney general was attempting to lay blame on the jury for the decision to not indict anyone in Taylor’s killing.