Two of the jurors who were a part of the grand jury investigating the death of Breonna Taylor during a police raid on her Louisville apartment back in March are now speaking out, accusing Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron of directing their investigation and alleging that the actions of the officers in charge of the raid were both “criminal” and “negligent” in their behavior.
The two men, who asked to remain anonymous, also said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron misled the public when he said that “the grand jury agreed” that murder charges against three cops weren’t warranted, according to a new interview on “CBS This Morning” scheduled to air Wednesday.
Both grand jurors told the station they believed cops were at fault in the raid that led to Taylor’s death in a barrage of police bullets.
“Negligent,” said one of the men, identified by the station as Juror No. 1. “They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment, and it sounded like they hadn’t done one. So, their organization leading up to this was lacking. That’s what I mean by they were negligent in the operations.”
Juror No. 2 told co-host Gayle King that he believed the actions of the three cops — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove, and since-fired Detective Brett Hankison — were “criminal.”
“They were criminal leading up to this,” he said. “The way they moved forward on it, including the warrant, was deception.”
I confess to being a little confused by the grand jurors statements. If in fact Daniel Cameron didn’t present any charges beyond the wanton endangerment charges against Det. Brett Hankison, then how can the jurors have reached a decision about the culpability of other officers including Mattingly and Cosgrove?
When it comes to Cameron’s public statements about the grand jury and potential murder charges, I agree with the jurors that the AG’s statements were misleading. Cameron definitely made it sound like the jury could have indicted Mattingly and Cosgrove if jurors wanted to, but we now know that the only charges that were presented and considered by the grand jury were the charges of wanton endangerment against Hankison.
It’s also worth pointing out that the two grand jurors who are now speaking out, albeit anonymously, haven’t said that any of the officers should have been indicted for murder. Instead, it seems like their criticism of the officers involved is centered around the decision to raid Taylor’s apartment in the first place. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker doesn’t deny firing the first shot as officers breached the door into Taylor’s home, but he says he never heard police identify themselves and that he believed he was defending Taylor and himself against home invaders.
Police returned fire, killing Taylor, who was unarmed, but based on the publicly available evidence, it still seems like the most likely explanation is that both Taylor and police fired believing that they were acting in self-defense. Taylor’s death was an undeniable tragedy, but I’m still not convinced that cops committed a crime when they returned fire.
As for the supposed negligence of police in planning the raid, I’m open to further investigation. In fact, the FBI investigation into the raid on Taylor’s apartment is still ongoing, and hopefully that will provide an opportunity to address the allegations raised by the grand jurors. In fact, according to Daniel Cameron, the FBI is specifically looking at how the police department obtained the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, so hopefully we’ll soon know more about what led up to the search warrant and the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment.