Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office must make public more than 20 hours of audio recordings of grand jury proceedings related to the Breonna Taylor case by midday Friday.
A Jefferson County judge ordered the release as part of the criminal proceedings against former Louisville Metro Police detective Brett Hankison. Parties ranging from lawyers for Taylor’s family to politicians to concerned citizens have called for the public release of the recordings, as well as other evidence presented to the grand jury, since last week.
That’s when the grand jury indicted Hankison on wanton endangerment charges for bullets that entered an apartment of Taylor’s neighbors. No one was charged for her March 13 killing, a decision that has intensified national scrutiny of Louisville, the justice system and Cameron.
Last week, in a press conference explaining the wanton endangerment charges, Cameron said his office’s investigation showed — “and the grand jury agreed” — that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove were justified in shooting Taylor because her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them first. Walker has said he shot at the plainclothes officers breaking down Taylor’s door near 1 a.m. because he thought they were intruders.
At the time, Cameron declined to specify what evidence or charges were brought to the grand jury.
“They got to hear and listen to all the testimony and made the determination that Detective Hankison was the one that needed to be indicted,” he said.
But in a Monday evening statement, Cameron said the only charge prosecutors recommended was wanton endangerment.
That statement followed Judge Ann Bailey Smith’s order in the criminal case against Hankison for Cameron’s office to publicly file the recordings to the court by Wednesday. His office requested a one-week extension, arguing they needed additional time to redact personal information of witnesses.
Smith granted a two-day extension until noon Friday.
“We are complying with the Judge’s order. The Grand Jury audio recording is more than 20 hours long, and our office filed a motion to request additional time to redact personally identifiable information of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers,” Cameron spokesperson Elizabeth Kuhn said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
Hours after Smith’s original order to file the recordings publicly, an anonymous grand juror from the case filed a lawsuit that goes beyond public release of the recordings. The juror also wants Cameron’s office to publish transcripts of the proceedings, and has asked the court for protection from repercussions for speaking publicly about the case.
The juror’s attorney, Kevin Glogower, said this week the recordings may not capture the full picture of the proceedings because every moment may not have been recorded. Those gaps could be filled in by the grand juror, he said.
“It’s not really about changing the narrative, it’s about opening it up to a more full truth,” Glogower said.
What the grand jury was asked to consider remains one of the major questions in the wake of the long-awaited conclusion of Cameron’s investigation. The release of the recordings is likely to raise some new questions as well.