A Kentucky Judge Ordering the Grand Jury Records Unsealed in the Breonna Taylor Case, and Granting Permission for the Grand Jurors to Speak Publicly About the Case.

October 20, 2020
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This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where … the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null.

  • BACKGROUND: In September, an anonymous grand juror requested permission to speak publicly about the case and for the grand jury records to be released after Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Camero made public remarks about why the grand jury decided there was insufficient evidence to charge any police officers in connection with the killing of Breonna Taylor.
  • LATEST: On Wednesday, a Kentucky judge ruled in the juror’s favor, finding that although grand jury proceedings are traditionally veiled in secrecy, the public policy justifications for keeping those proceedings confidential no longer apply in this case.
    • The judge explained that the grand jury’s business on this case has already concluded, the police officer (Brett Hankison) has already been charged, the identities of the other officers involved are already known, and the trial court already ordered the disclosure of the grand jury recordings. Additionally, she noted “There exists additional interest to consider in making this decision: the interest of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be assured that its publicly elected officials are being honest in their representations.”
  • CASE REFRESHER:
    • On March 13, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT was shot multiple times by police inside her Louisville, KY home after plain clothes police officers conducting a drug investigation entered her home using a ‘no-knock’ warrant, meaning they were not required to identify themselves before entering.
    • Police said they returned fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot which hit one of the officers in the thigh. Walker said the police knocked, but did not identify themselves, leading him and Taylor to believe they were robbers, which is why he fired his gun. The police said they identified themselves.
    • One of the officers was charged – but not in connection with Taylor’s death. Brett Hankison (no longer an officer) was charged with wanton endangerment, a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years. He is accused of endangering the lives of Taylor’s neighbors – a male, a pregnant female, and a child – because he fired into the apartment with no clear line of sight (this is also the reason he was fired).

by Jenna Lee,

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