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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Grand Jury Recordings Released in Breonna Taylor Case

More than 20 hours of audio recordings of the grand jury proceedings stemming from the shooting death of Breonna Taylor were released to the public on Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CN) — More than 20 hours of audio recordings of the grand jury proceedings stemming from the shooting death of Breonna Taylor were released to the public on Friday.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron submitted redacted versions of the secret proceedings shortly before noon, following a decision by a Jefferson County judge who denied his request for more time.

Cameron wanted a week to go through the recordings, but was instead given two days to redact potentially sensitive personal information from the audio.

The recordings were released only after public outrage at Cameron’s decision regarding charges against the officers involved in the shooting and the filing of a motion by an anonymous grand juror.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed by several Louisville Metro Police Officers after they executed a warrant and broke down the door to her apartment.

The officers raided Taylor’s home in connection with a drug investigation related to her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.

A lengthy investigation into the incident and the grand jury proceedings resulted in three charges of wanton endangerment against Officer Brett Hankison, none of which were related to Taylor’s death.

Hankison was fired by the city of Louisville in the aftermath of the shooting, while the other two officers are on leaves of absence. Hankison pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.

Included in the audio is testimony from Jeff Fogg, part of the Attorney General Office’s Department of Criminal Investigations, regarding the warrant executed by the Louisville Metro Police Department, or LMPD.

“The warrant was … a no-knock warrant,” Fogg said. “They decided to serve it as a knock warrant, a knock-and-announce.”

Tempers flared in Louisville after reports surfaced that Taylor had been killed after police executed a no-knock warrant, and the city eventually banned them with the passage of “Breonna’s Law.”

However, Fogg’s testimony and AG Cameron’s comments during his press conference to announce the charges against Hankison contradict previous versions of events and suggest police announced their presence before they broke down the apartment door.

Detective Michael Nobles, the officer who rammed Taylor’s door to gain access to the apartment, also testified before the grand jury about the warrant.

“It was supposed to be [Taylor] and her kid,” Nobles said, “maybe even her and a small child there. So that’s why we decided to knock. It was a no-knock warrant, but we wanted to give her time … you could hear movement but there was no answer.”

Police Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot during the raid by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, told the grand jury Taylor was targeted because “she receives [Glover’s] packages and held his money.”

However, this testimony – used to obtain the warrant that prompted the raid – conflicts with an internal memo obtained from the LMPD in which the department confirmed there was no package activity at Taylor’s address.

Audio from Hankison’s police radio was also played for the grand jury, which included the officer telling dispatch that a subject was barricaded in the apartment and he had “encountered rifle fire.”

Hankison also said the weapon being used against police “looks like AR,” even though the only weapon fired by Taylor’s boyfriend Walker was a legally owned handgun.

Louisville and Taylor’s family also recently announced a $12 million settlement in a civil lawsuit that stemmed from Taylor’s death.

The settlement payment dwarfed the city’s highest previous payout of $8 million made to a wrongfully imprisoned Black man, while the agreement also included various police reforms.

Cameron released a statement shortly after his office submitted the audio recordings to the court, saying he is confident the public will see his team presented a thorough case to the grand jury after listening to the recordings.

“Our presentation followed the facts and the evidence, and the grand jury was given a complete picture of the events surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death on March 13,” the attorney general said. “While it is unusual for a court to require the release of the recordings from grand jury proceedings, we complied with the order, rather than challenging it, so that the full truth can be heard.”

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Categories / Civil Rights, Government, Regional

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