Kentucky AG defends Breonna Taylor grand jury decision to clear three cops of charges in her killing

A grand jury’s decision to clear three officers of charges in Breonna Taylor’s killing was backed by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. 

  • Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron defended Breona Tayor’s grand jury decision to clear three officers of charges of her death.
  • Only one of the cops was charged on three counts of wanton endangerment, which are not related to Taylor’s killing. 
  • Mayor Fischer announced a state of emergency in Louisville as protests emerged after the jury’s disturbing decision.
Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron | Credits: Twitter

On Wednesday, September 23, Cameron, who has been investigating the case for four months, announced his final decision. This happened after the grand jury charged only one of the cops, Brett Hankison, on three counts of wanton endangerment for Breonna Taylor’s killing.

As per Daily Mail, the first-degree charge, a Class D felony with up to 5 years in prison, doesn’t relate to the 26-year-old EMT’s murder, but to Hankinson shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident.

Brett Hankison | Credits: Shelby County Detention Center

The other two officers who were at the scene – Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. According to General Cameron, they didn’t face charges because they acted in self-defense.

The Kentucky politician said:

“I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Miss Taylor. I understand that as an attorney general … I understand that as a black man. This team, myself, and the representatives of the Attorney General’s office have taken a lot of criticism and scrutiny. But that scrutiny in many ways was misplaced because there was not a day that people in this office didn’t go to sleep thinking about this case. Criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief, but my heart breaks for the loss of Ms. Taylor and I’ve said that repeatedly. My mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard.”

Credits: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

Cameron also insisted that the decision must not trigger more violence:

‘If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”

The Louisville Metro Police Department fired Hankinson in June after it was declared he violated policy by ‘wantonly and blindly’ firing his gun during the raid.

While there is still an ongoing investigation on the case, General Cameron presented a detailed account of his team’s findings, which included:

  • Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Hankinson had no known association with the raid executed on March 13, 2020.
  • Mattingly was the only officer to enter the residence, where he saw Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, open fire. He returned fire with six shots. Cosgrove shot 16 times.
  • Breonna Taylor was struck by a total of 6 bullets. Only one of them was determined to be fatal.
  • Hankison fired his weapon 10 times, firing bullets into apartment 4 and apartment 3. Three residents of apartment 3 were at home – a male, a pregnant female, and a child.
  • There is no evidence the bullet that killed Taylor was fired from Hankinson’s weapon.
  • According to the FBI investigation, the fatal shot was fired by detective Cosgrove.
  • Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the use of force after Walker opened fire.

Cameron stated:

“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by (Officers Jonathan) Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves.”

Myles Cosgrove and John Mattingly | Credits: LMPD

The killing of Breonna Taylor and other black Americans murdered by police officers sparked a massive wave of nationwide protests. 

After Wednesday’s frustrating announcement, demonstrators began marching through the streets of Louisville, where Taylor was killed. While some protestors sat quietly and cried, others shouted: “No justice, no peace!”

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, called the grand jury’s decision “outrageous and offensive!”

Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom encouraged people to “Rise UP”.

Sports stars and celebrities joined the protests in calling on Cameron to charge the police who shot Taylor.

Furthermore, in another press conference, Mayor Greg Fischer announced a state of emergency and stated there would be a 72-hour curfew in the city, from 9 pm to 6:30 am. He declared:

“No matter what Attorney General Cameron announces, I urge everyone to commit, once again, to a peaceful, lawful response.”

Louisville’s mayor claimed he was trying to plan ahead of time to protect both demonstrators and the people who live and work there.

The city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer, had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and its police department back in April. The family heard the settlement for the record-breaking compensation on September 15. Ms. Palmer said:

“As significant as today is, it is only the beginning. We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.”

Tamika Palmer | Credits: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

The settlement will also feature several police reforms for the city of Louisville. While explaining the reforms are not related to Cameron’s criminal investigation, Mayor Fischer said they will be imposed regardless of the outcome.

“I’m deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death. My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”

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