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Kentucky attorney general given until Friday to release Breonna Taylor grand jury recording

Cameron filed a motion with the court saying his office needs more time to redact "personal identifiers."
Image: People react after a decision in the criminal case against police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville
Protestors gather near the memorial of Breonna Taylor before a march in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 25, 2020.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has until Friday to release the grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case after he asked a judge for a one-week extension.

The recording was expected to be released Wednesday after a judge ruled earlier this week for it to be made public. But Cameron filed a motion with the court saying his office needs more time to "redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both names and personal identifiers of any private citizen."

The attorney general said that the delay is necessary to protect witnesses, "and in particular private citizens named in the recordings."

Cameron had asked the judge to delay the release by a week, but a judge ruled Wednesday that the attorney general's office has until noon on Friday.

"We are complying with the Judge’s order," a spokesperson for Cameron said in a statement. "The Grand Jury audio recording is more than 20 hours long, and our office filed a motion to request additional time to redact personally identifiable information of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers."

"The Judge ruled on the motion today and granted an extension until noon on Friday to give us proper time to redact specific personal information of witnesses."

The ruling to release the recording came after an unidentified juror filed a court motion Monday asking the judge to unseal the transcript and records "so that the truth may prevail."

Cameron had agreed to release the recording.

"As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the Grand Jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool," he said in a statement Monday.

"Despite these concerns, we will comply with the Judge’s order to release the recording on Wednesday. The release of the recording will also address the legal complaint filed by an anonymous grand juror."

In his statement Monday, Cameron also revealed that the only charge he recommended to the grand jury was wanton endangerment, which is the only indictment it ultimately delivered.

Former Louisville Detective Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that went into a neighboring apartment during the police raid at Taylor’s apartment on March 13. No officers were charged in connection to her death.

"We have no concerns with grand jurors sharing their thoughts on our presentation because we are confident in the case we presented," Cameron said Monday, adding that his team "presented a thorough and complete case to the Grand Jury."

"Our prosecutors presented all of the evidence, even though the evidence supported that Sergeant Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker. For that reason, the only charge recommended was wanton endangerment," he said.

The motion filed by the juror noted, however, that Cameron previously made public comments stating that his team walked the grand jury "through every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available to the grand jury."

The announcement of the charges last week sparked protests in Louisville as well as around the country and calls by Taylor's family and lawyers for Cameron to release the evidence. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, co-counsel for the family, said on NBC's "TODAY" that the wanton endangerment charge "doesn't make sense."

Releasing grand jury recordings is rare as most states have laws that would prevent them from being made public. California and other states only allow it under very specific circumstances, and others require a judge's order.

Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by police during a drug raid at her home on March 13 after officers with a no-knock warrant broke down the door seeking evidence in a narcotics investigation. The target of the probe was Taylor's ex-boyfriend, who lived at a different location.

Police said officers announced themselves before entering Taylor's apartment, which Cameron said was corroborated by a civilian witness who was near Taylor's apartment on the night of the shooting.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and multiple neighbors have said that they did not hear police announce their presence.

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After police forced their way into the apartment, Walker fired a shot at the front door, striking Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, according to police. Walker, who had a license to carry firearms, said he believed it was a home invasion.

Cameron said Mattingly fired six shots and another officer, Detective Myles Cosgrove, fired 16. Hankison fired 10 shots but Cameron said there is no evidence that any of his bullets hit Taylor, who was shot six times. An FBI analysis determined the fatal shot was fired by Cosgrove.