Juror petitions to release grand jury information in Breonna Taylor case

A member of the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor case filed a motion Monday in Louisville, Kentucky, to have the sealed grand jury transcripts and records released “so that the truth may prevail.”

The motion, filed in Jefferson County five days after the jury’s decision was announced, also asks that the jurors be allowed to speak about the case as a matter of public interest.

In the petition, an attorney for the anonymous juror notes that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made public statements that “attempted to make it very clear that the grand jury alone made the decision.”

“The citizens of this Commonwealth have demonstrated their lack of faith in the process and proceedings in this matter and the justice system itself,” the filing said. “Using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions only sows more seeds of doubt in the process while leaving a cold chill down the spines of future grand jurors.”

Cameron announced last week that the grand jury had chosen not to issue indictments on homicide charges against any of the three officers who fired their guns in the police raid that killed Taylor in March. One former officer, Brett Hankison, faces charges of wanton endangerment, accused of firing into a neighbor’s home.

He pleaded not guilty Monday. During his hearing, the judge ordered that a recording of the grand jury proceedings be entered into the court record.

“The Grand Jury is meant to be a secretive body. It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen,” Cameron said in a statement Monday night.

“As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the Grand Jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool,” he said. “Despite these concerns, we will comply with the Judge’s order to release the recording on Wednesday. The release of the recording will also address the legal complaint filed by an anonymous grand juror.”

The motion said the juror who filed the petition wishes to remain anonymous but feels “compelled to act in a manner that promotes transparency, truth, and justice.”

Cameron said he stands by the case his team presented. “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,” he said Monday.

Kevin Glogower, the attorney who filed the petition, did not immediately respond to phone calls and text messages requesting comment Monday night.

The petition said, “It is patently unjust for the jurors to be subjected to the level of accountability the Attorney General campaigned for simply because they received a summons to serve their community at a time that adherence to the summons forced them to be involved in a matter that has caused such a palpable divide between sides.”

The decision not to charge the officers with Taylor’s death was met with outrage, as Taylor’s has become one of many names associated with police violence and racial inequity in recent months. Protests followed in Louisville as people demanded transparency and justice for Taylor.

Taylor was killed after Louisville Metro Police Department officers executed a search warrant at her apartment after midnight. Taylor, an emergency room technician, was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when officers knocked on her door.

According to Walker’s account and a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family, the couple did not hear police announce themselves and believed the apartment was being broken into. Walker, a legal gun owner, fired a shot at the front door and struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, police said.

Authorities said the officers forcibly entered the apartment after Taylor did not come to the door.

Mattingly stated in his account that he saw Taylor and Walker standing at the end of the hall and returned fire. Cameron said Wednesday that Mattingly fired six shots and that “almost simultaneously” Detective Myles Cosgrove fired 16 times from the doorway.

It had previously been reported that Taylor was shot five times, but Cameron said she was struck six times.

An FBI analysis determined that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot.

Police were executing a warrant to search for drugs or cash from drug trafficking as part of an investigation involving Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer. Glover had been using her address to receive packages, according to authorities.

No drugs or money were recovered, according to the search warrant inventory document obtained by NBC News. Taylor had no criminal record.

Cameron said his office’s investigation found that officers announced themselves based on one witness account, although other witnesses have said they did not hear police announce themselves that night.

He also said the three officers “had no known involvement in the preceding investigation or obtainment of the search warrant.”

“They were called in to duty as extra personnel,” Cameron said Wednesday.

Mattingly’s attorney, Kent J. Wicker, said the grand jury’s decision not to charge his client or Cosgrove “shows that the system worked and that grand jurors recognized and respected the facts of the case.”

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Taylor’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit that the city settled for $12 million, called the grand jury process a “sham proceeding that did nothing to give Breonna Taylor a voice.”

Crump said on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday that the wanton endangerment charge “doesn’t make sense” and that the indictment was in connection to bullets shot into a white neighbor’s apartment, “but not for the bullets going in Breonna Taylor’s body.”

The family’s legal team has also demanded the release of the grand jury transcripts, and it has demanded to know whether Cameron recommended charges for the other officers.

“Nothing seems to say Breonna mattered,” Crump said.

Gabe Gutierrez contributed.

source: nbcnews.com