Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors Say Prosecutors Dismissed Their Questions
Two anonymous grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor investigation say prosecutors denied them evidence they requested, dismissed their questions, created confusion and declined requests to look into additional charges during the proceedings.
The grand jurors, who are using the nicknames Grand Juror 1 and Grand Juror 2, said they heard about 40 cases over the month of September. In most cases, the prosecutor would present and explain the recommended charges first, then walk the grand jury through evidence that supported their recommendation. But the Breonna Taylor case was different, both jurors said in a call with reporters Wednesday.
“When we get to this case, it seems to me that they deliberately did it backwards or sideways,” Grand Juror 2 said.
The anonymous jurors said prosecutors presented evidence first, over two and a half days, without letting jurors know what charges they were recommending, or where the evidence was leading.
“We were listening to evidence that we did not, we didn’t know what it was going to apply to,” Grand Juror 1 said.
“When we got to the end and only heard that they were going to offer three charges, there was an uproar,” Grand Juror 2 said.
The three charges were three counts of wanton endangerment for Brett Hankison for bullets fired into a neighboring apartment. Both jurors said they believed more charges should have been pursued against other officers.
“Almost all of the people at once said, “Isn’t there anything else?’” Grand Juror 1 said. “And and it was asked more than once, if any other charges could be brought against all three of the officers.”
But, according to anonymous Grand Juror 1, prosecutors told them “they didn’t feel that they could make any charges stick.” The said prosecutors told them officers were justified in returning fire, but did not present any explanation as to why.
The moment charging recommendations were revealed came after two days of a “confusing” presentation, in which prosecutors waved away grand jurors’ questions and requests for more information.
Grand Juror 2 said prosecutors in other cases never dismissed a juror’s question out of hand, and offered additional evidence when it was requested. But, again, the Breonna Taylor case was different, the jurors said.
“A lot of times when we asked questions or we asked for more information, we were told either they would circle back to it, or it wasn’t relevant, or something to the degree that we weren’t going to get that,” he said.
Grand Juror 2 said one juror asked about the ‘no-knock’ warrant the judge signed to allow Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) to conduct a raid on Taylor’s home.
“We were told something similar to, ‘Oh, the warrant was fine, and we don’t need to think about that,’” he said.
Records released from LMPD suggest one officer, Joshua Jaynes, may have fabricated information to obtain the warrant.
The jurors also said prosecutors played audio-only recordings of interviews with officers, but they later found out videos existed as well.
Grand Juror 1 said one juror asked for certain drawings an officer made during his interview.
“We were told those weren’t available,” he said.
The grand jurors’ attorney Kevin Glogower pointed to state law that he said requires prosecutors to grant grand jurors’ requests for more information.
“If the grand jury requests any evidence whatsoever, including a witness, it is the obligation of the prosecuting attorney to present that evidence for that witness, even if they have to go back to the court and secure a subpoena,” Glogower said.
Grand Juror 2 said he wishes he would have asked prosecutors at the beginning of the proceedings why they weren’t presenting charges first.
“I should have spoke up,” he said. “That’s something that I think about all the time now.”
Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, has asked the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council to appoint a new prosecutor in the case.
Federal authorities continue their own investigation.