© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People react following a criminal case ruling against police officers implicated in Breonna Taylor's death in Louisville
By Daniel Trotta
(Reuters) – Kentucky's attorney general, who presented evidence of the police's death of Breonna Taylor to a grand jury, did not recommend charges against the two police officers who shot them and said the grand jury must make that decision on its own.
The revelation in a television interview in Louisville pre-empted one of the main points of interest that was due to be revealed Wednesday when a record of more than 20 hours of the trial was due to be released.
However, a judge agreed to postpone the release of the recording and give the state until Friday noon to edit the names of the witnesses, the attorney general said on Wednesday afternoon.
Under public pressure to present the evidence he has presented in a case that has attracted national attention and sparked protests, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in an interview with WDRB television on Tuesday that he only recommended charges against the three officials who opened fire. The grand jury accepted his lead and last week charged an officer with endangering.
"They (the Grand Jury) are an independent body. If they wanted to evaluate various charges, they could have done so. But our recommendation was that (Jonathan) Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove were justified in their actions and actions were behavior, "said Cameron.
The case of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, has revived street protests in the United States against racism and police brutality and further polarized the country as some voters cast early votes in the November 3rd presidential election.
The shooting took place while police were executing a search warrant in a drug investigation against Taylor's ex-boyfriend. When officers broke into her home in the early hours of March 13, Taylor's current boyfriend shot and wounded an officer once. Three officers responded with 32 rounds, six of which hit Taylor.
The grand jury decided against the charges against Mattingly or Cosgrove, who were being taken on administrative leave. Instead, a third white officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with wanton exposure to stray bullets that struck a neighboring apartment. Hankison was released in June.
Cameron has said the shooting was warranted as a self-defense as Taylor's friend Kenneth Walker first shot the officers. Walker said he believed the officers who entered the house with "no knock" orders were criminal intruders and an attempted murder charge was dropped against him in May.
Cameron critics, including civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Taylor family, have questioned the grand jury presentation, pointing out that Cameron, a black Republican, is protecting the officials. Crump helped the family win a $ 12 million settlement against the city of Louisville.
Cameron previously said he presented "all evidence" to the grand jury and led the panel through six possible homicides under Kentucky law.
However, the prosecution has a great deal of leeway in presenting evidence to a large jury, which then decides whether or not to bring charges. Nine of the twelve large jurors must agree on a charge in order to send a charge back.
Cameron told WDRB, a Fox-affiliated Louisville broadcaster, that he was only recommending the one charge that was brought.
"Ultimately, our verdict is that the charges, which we were able to prove beyond doubt in court, were willful threats to Mr. Hankison," said Cameron.
The case has put the spotlight on Cameron, a potential rising star in a Republican party that lags far behind the Democrats in the black vote.
Hollywood stars and professional athletes have called for law enforcement and Taylor, a paramedic, under the motto "Say her name!" Celebrated.
Cameron told WDRB he could speak more openly now that a recording of the grand jury's proceedings would be released. Cameron previously opposed the grand jury's disclosure of the evidence, saying it should be kept secret as usual.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith ordered that a record of the 2 1/2 days of the trial be filed with the court on Wednesday as part of Hankison's case.
But Cameron asked the judge for another week, saying the state needed time to edit the names of the witnesses and individuals identified in the record. Instead, the judge extended the time limit by two days to noon Friday, according to Hankison's defense attorney Stew Mathews and a statement from the attorney general.
Grand Jury evidence is rarely released, and Kentucky typically only shares it with attorneys in a criminal case if the accused has a right to see it. "In Kentucky, it will be made available to the defendant. In the interests of transparency, the judge decided that it should be published," said Mathews.