One of the grand jurors who considered charges in the Breonna Taylor case wants a judge to let them speak publicly about the private proceedings that led to the indictment of one officer involved in Taylor’s death.
The anonymous juror filed a lawsuit Monday seeking the release of recordings and transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, and for a “declaration of rights” that would allow them and other jurors to discuss the deliberations related to the case without fear of repercussions.
“My client wants to make sure the truth gets out,” said Kevin Glogower, the juror’s attorney, during a Tuesday press conference at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. “This is an issue that is about accountability, it’s about public trust, and it’s about transparency.”
Glogower on Tuesday said the “primary concern” is that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron “laid a lot of responsibility at the grand jurors’ feet,” and is unnecessarily trying to keep secret the proceedings that led to the indictment of former Louisville Metro Police detective Brett Hankison for his role in the operation that left Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, dead in her home.
“The message that gets out there right now that these are secret and never to be talked about is inaccurate,” he said.
The grand jury did not charge Hankison for Taylor’s shooting death. Instead, he was charged for wanton endangerment for bullets that traveled into a neighbor’s apartment. Two other police officers who shot Taylor Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted. Cameron said the evidence showed their actions were justified after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at them while they were entering the apartment to execute a search warrant.
Hankison’s indictment and Cameron’s subsequent press briefing last week left many questions unanswered about the investigation and the case his office presented to the grand jury.
Glogower said he hopes a judge will allow his client to shed light on these issues.
One element of the suit — the recordings — has already been addressed. During Hankison’s arraignment this week, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith ordered prosecutors to file any recordings of the grand jury proceedings publicly with the court.
However, Glogower said the recordings will fail to provide a complete picture of what transpired during the two and a half days earlier this month because some elements of the proceedings could likely have occurred off tape. It’s not certain that what evidence and details prosecutors presented to jurors, what charges prosecutors recommended, and what questions jurors asked will be on the tape — and these details could only be brought forward by a juror who was present.
“It’s not really about changing the narrative, it’s about opening it up to a more full truth,” he said.
Glogower declined to identify his client or delve into details about what his client has told him about the deliberations. He said his client was largely unaware of the Breonna Taylor case before serving on the grand jury.
Asked about the racial makeup of the jury, Glogower said it was “not atypical.” But, he said it’s “not atypical in Kentucky” for grand juries to underrepresent minority populations.
Understanding how the Breonna Taylor case unfolded could help the public understand and question other foundational elements of the criminal justice system — how juries are impanelled, how search warrants are obtained and executed., Glogower said.
“These are the questions we hope get answered,” he said. “The whole point of getting this out there is to see what the next steps are.”