LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Jefferson County judge ruled Tuesday that a grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case is allowed to speak publicly. The grand juror alleges the jury was not given a chance to weigh charges directly connected to Taylor's death against the Louisville police officers who shot her.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Annie O'Connell released a statement in her ruling, saying the order is not intended to coerce, compel or even encourage any grand juror to come forward. It merely grants a grand juror's request to do so and gives others the option.
The Court urges any grand juror who chooses to disclose their identity to do so with extreme caution, for to do so may result in a level of public attention and scrutiny over which this Court will have no control. Furthermore, this Order is not intended to coerce, compel, or even encourage any grand juror to come forward. It merely grants one grand juror's request to do so and gives others the option. Grand jury deliberations are a collaborative process. Any one grand juror's memory, opinions, and perceptions are their own. No one grand juror speaks for the others, nor does one’s statement carry any more weight than the others.
You can read the full opinion by Judge O'Connell below:
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office argued against the juror's request, contending that releasing grand jury evidence would permanently taint potential jurors in former Louisville Metro Police Department officer Brett Hankison's trial.
In a statement shortly after the ruling, a grand juror said they were only presented with wanton endangerment charges against former Detective Brett Hankison for firing into other apartments. Hankison was the only officer charged in the case and has pleaded not guilty. No one was directly charged with Breonna Taylor's death.
The grand juror says they were not given the chance to weigh homicide charges.
The anonymous juror's attorney just sent out a press release with a statement by the juror. It confirms what many have suspected:— Roberto Aram Ferdman (@robferdman) October 20, 2020
"The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison." pic.twitter.com/LB5hMjrzfU
"The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them," the anonymous grand juror wrote in a statement issued by attorney Kevin Glogower. "The grand jury never heard anything about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either. Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn't feel they could make them stick. The grand jury didn't agree that certain actions were justified, not did it decide the indictment should be the only charges in the Breonna Taylor case. The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told."
Kevin Glogower, attorney to the grand juror said in a press conference on Tuesday that the ruling is about truth, transparency, and the interest in public trust.
"The court weighed all the law and all the facts in this particular case and specifically weighed the public interest at issue. And the court issued what is a 9 page, very detailed, very well written order. And the most relevant part of what we are here for today is where she granted our motion to release the grand juror proceedings to include the unreported portions."
The juror says no homicide offenses were explained to them and when jurors asked about additional charges, they were allegedly told there would be none because the prosecutors felt they would not stick. "Although it would certainly appear, they made an assessment, as to whether or not the law of justification or self-defense was prevailing. That is not something we believe, and I think we can comment on, based on what has been provided in writing that the grand jurors necessarily agreed with or were even given an opportunity to weigh in on," Glogower said.
Through Glogower, the grand juror went on to say that jurors did not decide the indictment should be the only charges in the case. The juror says no one was given the chance to deliberate on other charges, but only what was presented to them.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office had argued against the juror going public. The attorney general responded to the ruling with the following statement: