Bowling Green Attorney Cautions Against Releasing Evidence in Breonna Taylor Case

Sep 25, 2020

Credit Alan Simpson

A Kentucky attorney says he believes the grand jury that decided whether to bring charges against the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor made the right decision based on the facts that have been made public in the case. 

A Jefferson County grand jury this week indicted former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison, who was one of the officers at Taylor’s apartment in March to serve a search warrant.  Taylor’s boyfriend said he believed they were intruders and fired at police first. 

Hankison was only indicted on wanton endangerment for firing shots that ended up striking a neighbor’s apartment.  He was not indicted in Taylor’s death.  Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to suggest any of the bullets Hankison fired hit Taylor.  The two other officers involved in the drug raid were not indicted. 


Alan Simpson, a criminal defense attorney in Bowling Green, said in an interview with WKU Public Radio that all of the evidence in the case should not be made public at this time, despite calls to release the documents. 

“At any given moment, that could be you or me, and he (Hankison) is entitled to a fair trial regardless of how we feel about it." Simpson said. "Releasing all the investigative materials to the public would probably prejudice his trial.”

Simpson adds the state's case against the officers is likely closed, although there could still be federal charges.

"Unless there's new evidence that comes to light, which I cannot imagine, this is it for state court. The Department of Justice could pursue charges, some type of criminal civil rights violation," Simpson explained. "If you'll harken back to the Rodney King days, once the officers in that case were found not guilty in a state court, the federal government stepped in and charged those officers federally."

Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are calling on Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release more information on his investigation into the death of Taylor.  Beshear, a former attorney general, says he does not think that releasing certain aspects of the criminal investigation would interfere with the ongoing federal civil rights probes.

"It’s about trust in the people of Kentucky. I trust them, that if they have all the facts, the evidence, and maybe some explanation, if needed, that they can process it," Beshear said during a news conference Thursday. "I know the Attorney General talks about the truth, and I talk about the truth. I think we ought to let the people of Kentucky see all of that, evaluate, and come to the truth."