A Kentucky judge has ordered the grand jury records from the Breonna Taylor case to be released, citing the need to show if ‘publicly elected officials are being honest,’ and clearing the way for grand jurors to speak about the proceedings.
‘This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where, at the time this motion is made, the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null,’ Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell wrote in the ruling.
O’Connell said she made her decision after considering ‘the interest of citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be assured that its publicly elected officials are being honest in their representations’.
During her ruling, O’Connell also ruled that grand jurors can speak publicly about the proceedings in the case against the police officers who shot Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT.
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Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O’Connell has ordered the grand jury records from the Breonna Taylor (pictured) case to be released, citing the need to show if ‘publicly elected officials are being honest,’ and clearing the way for grand jurors to speak about the case
An anonymous grand juror who sat on the panel last month had sued to speak publicly about the secret grand jury proceeding. This statement is from that juror
Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep in her apartment on March 13, when police burst in, looking for contraband that focused on her ex-boyfriend.
Walker, who later said that he had thought the police were burglars, fired once, wounding one officer.
Three police officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Taylor, who died at the scene.
The proceedings ended with the jury recommending no homicide charges against the three white officers in the case, an outcome that stoked days of protests over the use of excessive force by police against blacks and minorities.
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbor’s apartment.
An anonymous grand juror who sat on the panel last month had sued to speak publicly about the secret grand jury proceeding.
Taylor (left with her boyfriend and right) and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep in her apartment on March 13, when police burst in, looking for contraband that focused on her ex-boyfriend
The suit suggested that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron may have misrepresented details of the case that the jury heard.
Earlier this month, Cameron filed a motion asking a local court to dismiss the request from the grand juror.
In the statement, Cameron expressed ‘concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings’ which he called secretive by firm legal precedent in order to protect the safety of all involved.
He claimed it would ‘set a dangerous legal precedent’.
Cameron said: ‘As I’ve stated prior, I have no concerns with a grand juror sharing their thoughts or opinions about me and my office’s involvement in the matter involving the death of Ms Breonna Taylor.
‘However, I have concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings.’
Cameron added: ‘The grand jury process is secretive for a reason, to protect the safety and anonymity of all the grand jurors, witnesses, and innocent persons involved in the proceedings.’
The anonymous juror’s suit suggested that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (pictured) may have misrepresented details of the case that the jury heard. It wasn’t immediately known whether Cameron would appeal the ruling
‘Allowing this disclosure would irreversibly alter Kentucky’s legal system by making it difficult for prosecutors and the public to have confidence in the secrecy of the grand jury process going forward.’
The juror is reportedly the same person who on September 29 accused Cameron of ‘using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions’ and sued to make the proceedings public.
That resulted in the release of 15 hours of recordings of the grand jury proceedings.
But the recordings did not include any discussion of potential criminal action on the part of the officers who shot Taylor because Cameron determined beforehand that they had acted in self-defense.
On Tuesday, O’Connell wrote that any individual grand juror who wishes to identify themselves as a participant in the proceedings could do so, but was not compelled to do so.
She further wrote that the grand jurors needed to be certain that ‘their work is not mischaracterized by the very prosecutors on whom they relied to advise them’.
Cameron has said he did not introduce any homicide charges against the two officers who shot Taylor, because they were justified in returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them.
It wasn’t immediately known whether Cameron would appeal the ruling.