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BREAKING: Breonna Taylor grand jury recordings released

By Stephanie Toone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #local-all

The recording includes about 20 hours of audio. No written transcripts have been released.

The audio recordings of grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case, which ended with no criminal charges against police officers who fatally shot her, are now public. 

The audio of the approximately 20 hours of grand jury proceedings, which is typically confidential, was released shortly before noon Friday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.The recordings reveal which witnesses the grand jury heard testify and what they said that led to the decision to charge a former Louisville detective with felony wanton endangerment in the March 13 shooting.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office led the investigation into police actions in the Taylor shooting, did not block the release of the file, which gives context to his office’s presentation to the grand jury. Earlier this week, his office requested a weeklong extension to redact personal information from the recording before it is heard by the public. Instead, a judge gave him two days.

One of the grand jurors in the case said Cameron never put forth an option to indict the police officers for murder in the shooting in which Taylor was wounded several times by police, according to reports.

A lawyer for the unnamed juror filed a motion in court Monday seeking the release of grand jury transcripts and permission from a judge to speak publicly about the case.

The recordings cover the grand jury’s sessions Sept. 21-23 and are broken into 14 audio files, with witnesses’ personal information redacted because of concerns of threats that have been made to officials and officers.

No written transcripts have been released.

Cameron, a Republican and the state’s first African American attorney general, has been scrutinized since announcing last week that the grand jury did not charge the officers for killing Taylor. The officers used a narcotics warrant to enter Taylor’s Louisville apartment on March 13 and shot her after Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot at them. The 26-year-old emergency medical worker was shot five times. Police found no drugs there.

Cameron said two officers who fired their guns, hitting Taylor, were justified because Taylor’s boyfriend had fired at them first. The boyfriend had said he thought someone was breaking in.

The grand jury’s announcement has been followed by protests in Louisville and across the country, with many calling for accountability in the case.

The audio recording of the jury proceedings will be added to the public court file of fired Officer Brett Hankison. The grand jury charged Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighboring apartment where people were inside. No one was hit. He pleaded not guilty Monday. Cameron said there was no conclusive evidence that any of Hankison’s shots hit Taylor.

The developments come a day after the first woman to lead the Louisville Metro Police Department, Yvette Gentry, was sworn in Thursday as the department’s interim chief.

“I know I’m interim,” Gentry said at a small ceremony streamed on the department’s Facebook page. “But I represent something different to a lot of people being the first woman to take this title, so I’m not going to shortchange that.”