LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two members of the grand jury that presided over the Breonna Taylor case are speaking out anonymously to clarify their role in the decision to not charge any officers in Taylor’s officer-involved shooting death in March.
Juror number one, a white male, was the first to come forward. The second grand juror to come forward anonymously is a Black male. They first spoke to CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King in a Tuesday interview.
In a two-hour conference call with members of the media, including WAVE 3 News, on Wednesday, both grand jurors claimed that justice had not been served and that more charges should have been filed. No officers were charged directly for Taylor’s death; former Det. Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighboring apartment.
“I think there should have been additional charges and against additional defendants in there, maybe up to six of the officers that were there,” the second grand juror said. “We looked at a lot of evidence and were able to see probable cause in a lot of different situations.”
The grand jurors said they knew they wanted to speak out after Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Hankison’s charges in a Sept. 23 press conference. Both men explained that Cameron’s office did not raise additional charges even after the jury asked. The grand jurors also say they don’t agree with Cameron that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove were justified in firing into Taylor’s apartment after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a single shot the hit Mattingly in the leg.
“[Cameron’s statements] are inaccurate,” grand juror number one said. “The first time we heard anything else could be reviewed was in the news conference. We were never told of additional charges. We were told they couldn’t make anything stick. They didn’t go into detail of self-defense or six possible murder statutes and that the whole reason why this filing started.”
The grand jurors say they personally found much of the officer activity the night of Taylor’s death to be criminally negligent.
“So from those three officers and the tale that they told when they were interviewed, it seems criminal to me,” the second grand juror said.
The grand jurors also believe the case was presented in a confusing manner and handled differently than the nearly 40 other cases they deliberated in the month of September. For those cases, they say the charges were presented before the evidence so they knew “what to look for,” but in Taylor’s case, it was reversed.
“The way the attorney general’s office presented the information was they provided two and a half days of evidence then presented the charges at the very end. It was confusing to us but it looked like it was leading up to something else, something more than just the three wanton endangerment charges,” the first grand juror said.
Both men say that there was confusion among the grand jury when no additional charges were presented.
“There was an uproar at the end that suggested to me that there were several other people who wanted to know more information,” the second grand juror said.
Regarding the evidence, both grand jurors said they did not get to see everything they asked for including the initial search warrant or LMPD’s public integrity unit video interviews, ultimately released after Hankison was charged. They say they only heard the audio, and many times, they were rushed when deliberating.
“We were told either they would circle back to it, or it wasn’t relevant or something to the degree that we weren’t going to get that,” the second grand juror said.
Both men also called into question the lone neighbor who said they heard police announce themselves at Taylor’s door which Walker has repeatedly denied hearing.
“All the testimony around the knock and announce, it was confusing,” said the first grand juror. “We didn’t actually hear his testimony, all we heard was a recap of it. They just read his statement to us.”
“The one person that they said did say they heard the police, his first statement was he didn’t hear it. Then the second time they interviewed him he said that he did hear it. Later on, it was determined that he had a language barrier,” the second grand juror said.
When asked if there’s anything they would do differently, both men said they would ask more questions.
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