“Our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment,” Cameron said in an interview Tuesday with local television station WDRB.
The statement cast doubt on comments he had made during a news conference last week, when Cameron said he walked jurors through “every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available.”
The grand jury followed Cameron’s recommendation, holding no one accountable for Taylor’s death — an outcome that outraged her family and activists who have marched for months calling for justice. The decision fueled more demonstrations nationwide last week and calls for transparency in a case that has sowed public distrust in the justice system and become a rallying cry over police killings of Black Americans.
Taylor was killed during a drug raid after midnight on March 13, when officers used a battering ram to enter her apartment, prompting an exchange of gunfire with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. No drugs were found in the apartment.
In a court motion filed Monday, a grand juror criticized Cameron’s original characterization of the proceedings, accusing him of “using grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility” for the charging decisions.
The motion requests that the grand jury proceedings be made public and that the jurors be allowed to speak publicly on the case. Kevin Glogower, attorney for the unnamed juror, said Tuesday that his client believes Cameron “may not have presented” all of the evidence to the grand jury, though he did not specify what evidence might have been missing.
“The primary concern that our client has is, if you watched the news conference after the reading of the indictment, the attorney general laid a lot of responsibility at the grand jurors’ feet,” Glogower said, adding that Cameron’s office has since “attempted to walk that back.”
Cameron said he will release a recording of the grand jury proceedings Wednesday and maintains that his team presented “a thorough and complete case” to the grand jury. The jurors were free to file any indictments they deemed reasonable, regardless of his recommendations, he said during the WDRB interview.
“They’re an independent body,” he said. “If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could have done that.”
The attorney general said he didn’t recommend murder charges against Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly because Taylor’s boyfriend shot at the officers first. Walker has admitted to firing the first bullet, but told authorities that he thought he was facing intruders.
The third officer, Brett Hankison, pleaded not guilty on Monday to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. The judge ordered that a recording of the grand jury proceedings be added to the court file by noon Wednesday.
Attorneys for Taylor’s family as well as state and local leaders, including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), had urged Cameron to make the secretive grand jury process public as questions mounted over the charging announcement.
“Since the grand jury decision was announced, we’ve been saying that Daniel Cameron clearly failed to present a comprehensive case that supported justice for Breonna,” attorneys for the Taylor family said in a statement Tuesday. “That conclusion is supported by the grand juror who came forward to say that the attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations. We fully support the call to release the entire proceeding transcript as the only way to know what evidence was presented and how the grand jury instructions led to this outcome.”
The unnamed juror also raised concerns that, without a judges order, Cameron “would attempt to utilize the court’s contempt powers … if there was a public disclosure that contradicted certain things that he stated happened during the proceedings, characterized the singularity of the decision in a different light, or raised doubts about charges that were presented during the proceedings.”
Glogower, the juror’s attorney, cautioned that the recording of the grand jury proceedings may not answer all questions and said it is imperative that jurors be allowed to speak publicly about what occurred.
“What they’re not telling you in [Cameron’s] release, which is still a question, is what was actually presented to them, if anything,” Glogower said. “What were those charges, who were the potential defendants, and then what was the recommendation, if any?”
Cameron’s office previously said that sharing more information about the proceedings would be inappropriate, given that a criminal case and federal investigation are ongoing. He said Monday that the grand jury “is meant to be a secretive body” but that it is “apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.”
The anonymous juror’s filing Monday asked the court to declare that members of the jury are free to detail their experience and discuss “any potential charges and defendants presented or not presented.”
“Attorney General Cameron attempted to make it very clear that the grand jury alone made the decision on who and what to charge based solely on the evidence presented to them,” the juror’s filing states. “The only exception to the responsibility he foisted upon the grand jurors was in his statement that they ‘agreed’ with his team’s investigation that [two officers] were justified in their actions.”
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly attributed Cameron’s comments on releasing the grand jury recording to a spokeswoman.