In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron explained a Louisville grand jury’s decision to indict only a single officer as a result of a March incident that left emergency room technician Breonna Taylor dead.
Cameron noted that witness testimony indicated officers appeared to correctly execute a search warrant on Taylor’s apartment in connection with a drug case and that the two other officers involved in an ensuing shootout with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were justified in their use of force because Walker fired first.
“The Louisville police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s shooting death ‘knocked and announced’ themselves — and did not execute a ‘no-knock warrant’ as previously believed, Kentucky’s attorney general said Wednesday,” per the New York Post. “At a press conference, AG Daniel Cameron said a neighbor corroborated cops’ claims that they knocked on Taylor’s apartment door and announced themselves as police in the early hours of March 13.”
Former Lousiville police officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of “wanton endangerment in the first degree” for firing his service weapon “blindly through a door and window in Taylor’s building,” according to CNN.
“Evidence showed officers knocked and announced their presence at the apartment,” Cameron noted.
The two other officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not charged, despite FBI ballistics evidence showing that Cosgrove fired the bullet that ultimately killed Breonna Taylor. Cameron noted that, based on the evidence, Walker, not Cosgrove, fired first, setting off a tragic chain of events.
“Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired on by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron said.
Cameron tried to use the press conference to calm tensions in Louisville, as demonstrations are expected and riots are predicted.
“The decision before my office is not to decide if the loss of Breonna Taylor’s life was a tragedy,” Cameron said. “The answer to that question is unequivocally yes.”
He added that the case was “gut-wrenching” and that he encouraged a lengthy grand jury investigation so that his office could “get this right.”
“I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Ms. Taylor,” he said. “I understand that as an attorney general who is responsible for all 120 counties, in terms of being the chief legal officer — the chief law enforcement officer, I understand that. I understand that as a Black man — how painful this is, which is why it was so incredibly important to make sure that we did everything we possibly could to uncover every fact.”
Cameron went on, though, to stress the importance of pursing justice, even in “emotional” cases, and that community members should not allow outside forces to “influence our thinking.”
“I understand that Miss Breonna Taylor’s death has become a part of a national story in conversation,” he said. “We must also remember the facts and the collection of evidence in this case are different than cases elsewhere in the country. Each is unique and cannot be compared.”
“Our reaction to the truth is the society we want to be,” Cameron continued. “Do we really want the truth? Or do we want a truth that fits our narrative? Do we want the facts? Are we content to blindly accept our own version of events? We, as a community, must make this decision.”
“There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understood the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do,” he concluded. “They don’t.”