Breonna Taylor grand jury recordings released

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Reuters

The tapes of the grand jury investigation into the Breonna Taylor police shooting case have been released in rare disclosure.

About fifteen hours of audio were made public on Friday, following a trial.

The recent decision not to charge officers for the murder of Ms Taylor on March 13 has renewed the outcry over racial inequality.

Unrest gripped Ms. Taylor’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky for days afterward.

What is in the bands?

With around 15 hours of audio airing Friday, all details have yet to be reviewed.

But early reviews of the tapes reveal the testimony of at least two Louisville police officers who said they knocked repeatedly and announced themselves as police officers before entering Ms. Taylor’s apartment.

“We knocked on the door, said ‘police’, waited I don’t know 10 or 15 seconds. Hit again, says ‘police’, waited even longer, ”Louisville Police Lt. Shawn Hoover said in a taped interview the day Ms. Taylor was shot, later played for the grand jury.

“So this was the third time we got close, it was about 45 seconds, maybe even a minute,” Hoover said. “And then I said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.'”

The officers were so loud, one said, that a neighbor came out saying something like “Leave that girl alone,” said Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly.

Ms Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and a number of her neighbors asked whether or not officers announced themselves before entering. Mr Walker, who shot at the police, said he did so in self-defense, believing the police to be intruders.

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Legend

Ms Taylor’s death sparked protests across the country


In a police interview played for the grand jury, Mr Walker said they did not hear the police identify themselves before entering his apartment. If they had, “it changes the whole situation because there was nothing we were afraid of,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Officer Myles Cosgrove – who, according to the FBI, fired the shot that killed Ms. Taylor – described a chaotic scene to investigators, in which he was “overwhelmed by flashes of light and darkness,” and looked confused. by the precise order of events.

“I just feel like I fired,” he said in a recording, according to The New York Times. “It’s like a surreal thing. If you told me I didn’t do something then I would believe you. If you told me I did something, I would probably believe you too.

When police entered the apartment, they encountered a person who appeared to be holding a long gun, Constable Brett Hankinson said in an interview with police. Mr Hankinson has since been charged with gratuitous endangerment for shooting at a nearby apartment.

But Mr. Wallace was holding a handgun, not a long gun.

Mr Wallace told investigators he was “afraid of death” when he heard knocking on the apartment door, The New York Times reported. He said he fired his gun before seeing who was at the door.

“All of a sudden there is a lot of shooting,” Walker said. “The next thing I know is that she is [Breonna’s] on the floor… And she’s bleeding here. And no one is coming and I’m just confused and scared. ”

The grand jury deliberations and the prosecutor’s recommendations were not recorded and therefore were not included in the published documents.

What happened in the case that led to the grand jury?

The death of Ms Taylor, an emergency medical worker, in a police raid in March was a high-profile case, sparking protests against police misconduct and racial inequality.

Ms Taylor was shot dead at age 26 when Constables Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove broke into her Louisville home. They were executing a search warrant in connection with a drug investigation, but no drugs were found on the property.

Last week Mr Hankison was charged with gratuitous endangerment, but no one was charged for Ms Taylor’s death.

The decision not to charge an officer with murder or manslaughter has led to repeated Black Lives Matter protests in Louisville and elsewhere.

It has also prompted questions about the handling of the case by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, with critics calling for more transparency.

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Legend

Breonna Taylor, 26, was an emergency medical technician


Why were the tapes broadcast?

Grand jury proceedings, in which evidence is presented to a selected panel of jurors to decide whether charges should be laid in a case, are normally kept secret.

However, a juror took legal action for their release after Mr Cameron announced last month that none of the officers involved in Ms Taylor’s death would be charged with her murder.

Mr Hankison was charged with the minor felony of “gratuitous endangerment” for shooting at a nearby apartment.

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Media captionKentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented the grand jury decision

Following the announcement of the decision, the anonymous grand juror questioned Mr Cameron’s public comments, prompting the trial.

The juror accused Mr Cameron of using the procedure as “a shield to ward off responsibility and liability”.

Ms Taylor’s family also demanded the tapes be released.

A statement from the family and their lawyers said the grand juror’s actions supported their belief that Mr Cameron had twisted the jury’s deliberations.

“We urge the attorney general to release a complete, unedited copy of the recording, along with all evidence,” it read.

Mr Cameron agreed to abide by a judge’s orders to release the tapes, telling reporters: ‘Once the public has listened to the recording, they will see that over the course of two and a half days our team has presented a full case to the grand jury. ”

His office filed a redacted version of the recording on Friday, with the personal information of those involved removed. The changes removed nearly four minutes of audio, according to court documents.

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Media captionProtesters march through Louisville following grand jury decision

What happened in this case and what is the next step?

The city of Louisville has agreed to pay the Taylor family a $ 12million (£ 9.3million) settlement, and Mr Hankison pleaded not guilty on Monday to gratuitous endangerment charges.

If found guilty, he faces a five-year sentence on each of the three counts.

He was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June.

The other two officers who participated in the raid – Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove – have been reassigned to administrative duties.

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