Breonna Taylor: Grand juror says homicide charges were not offered to jury
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A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has said the jury was not given the opportunity to consider homicide charges against the Kentucky police officers involved in the killing.
Ms Taylor, a 26-year-old black emergency room technician, was shot six times when three plain clothes police officers burst into her apartment during a “no-knock” drug warrant in Louisville on March 13.
In the statement, the anonymous juror said the state’s Attorney General only presented the grand jury with wanton endangerment charges to be considered against one officer.
A judge permitted the juror to release the statement, stating that it was in the public interest.
On 23 September the jury charged officer Brett Hankison with wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbour’s apartment. Two other officers who were involved have not been charged.
The ruling reignited Black Lives Matter protests in Louisville against police misconduct and racial inequality.
After the juror’s statement was released, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron tweeted that he stood by his department’s work, and would not be appealing against the judge’s ruling.
“Indictments obtained in the absence of sufficient proof under the law do not stand up and are not fundamentally fair to anyone,” he said.
In response Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Ms Taylor’s family, accused Mr Cameron of misrepresenting facts to the jury.
The juror’s revelation came as one of the officers involved in the shooting insisted that Ms Taylor’s death had “nothing to do with race”.
Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly said that the 26-year-old’s death was a tragedy but that it was “not relatable” to other police killings of unarmed black Americans, such as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
“This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that,” he told ABC News and the Courier Journal.
Officers Hankison, Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove stormed Ms Taylor’s Louisville home shortly after midnight on March 13.
They opened fire after Ms Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired what he described as a “warning shot” because the officers did not announce themselves.
Ms Taylor was shot six times in the exchange. Her death prompted demonstrations in Louisville for more than 100 days.
Sgt Mattingly said protests and public anger over the case could have been avoided if the Louisville mayor and police officials corrected “misinformation” sooner.
“It’s been excruciating. When you have the truth right there in your hands and everything else is getting crammed around you, it’s frustrating,” he said.
“This is a point where we were doing our job, we gave too much time when we go in, I get shot, we returned fire,” Mattingly said.
Officer charged over Breonna Taylor shooting pleads not guilty
Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove are still with the police department and have been placed on administrative reassignment.
Convictions for police officers in such cases are rare. About 1,000 people are shot and killed by law enforcement in the US each year. Only about eight officers a year are arrested and charged with murder or manslaughter for such killings.
According to the Washington Post, black Americans are more than twice as likely to be shot and killed by police as white Americans.
Mattingly prompted further public furore in September when he claimed that he and the other officers did the “legal, moral and ethical thing that night” in an e-mail sent to more than 1,000 of his fellow LMPD officers.
“It’s sad how the good guys are demonised, and the criminals are canonised,” he wrote.
The interview by ABC News and Louisville’s Courier Journal will air on ABC’s Good Morning America at 7am Wednesday.