More than 20 hours of audio recording of the grand jury inquiry into the police killing of Breonna Taylor was released on Friday following public pressure, as people have demanded justice in her case for many months.
The recordings describe a more thorough picture of the witness interviews, 9-1-1 calls, and evidence provided to jurors over the two days they spent in court hearing the case and determining what actions to take against the officers involved in Taylor’s death. They do not, however, include any statements or recommendations from prosecutors about what charges should be brought against the officers, The New York Times reports. This caused confusion and outrage for many who have closely advocated for Taylor's case and now believe, after one juror stepped forward, that the evidence was falsely represented.
Still, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron called the recordings a “complete picture of the events” that transpired, and said the jurors were told that the officers responded appropriately. Cameron said the jury deliberations and prosecutor recommendations were not recorded “as they are not evidence.”
But now many are wondering what exactly were on the tapes. Among the various witness interviews and testimonies was Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who told investigators he was “scared to death” at the sound of people banging on the front door. He said when they asked who was at the door, no one responded. The officers had a different story, though, and said they loudly announced themselves multiple times before breaking down the door.
In other recordings that were presented to the grand jury, the officers’ accounts were questioned by Taylor’s neighbours, who told them to leave her alone. After interviewing nearly a dozen of Taylor’s neighbours, The Times reported last month that only one said they heard the police identify themselves.
Walker went on to explain that after he and Taylor put their clothes on and left the bedroom, where Taylor asked “at the top of her lungs” who was banging on the door, the officers had broken it down. Walker fired one shot, hitting Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. “All of a sudden, there’s a whole lot of shots,” said Walker. “They’re just shooting, like, we’re both on the ground.” He added, “Next thing I know, she’s on the ground and the door’s busted open and I hear a bunch of yelling and just panicking.”
The jurors also questioned some of the evidence presented. They asked whether Walker was named in the search warrant that allowed them to enter Taylor’s home. He wasn’t. They questioned whether the officers knew that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, who the police were investigating for his alleged involvement in drug trafficking, was already in custody when they conducted the raid on Taylor’s home. Finally, the jurors wanted to know why the officers’ body cameras were off the entire time.
The recordings were released after a juror, who asked to remain anonymous, argued that the jury deliberations were misrepresented after attorney general Cameron did not offer the option to indict Mattingly or Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired the shot that killed Taylor.
"The full story and absolute truth of how this matter was handled from beginning to end is now an issue of great public interest and has become a large part of the discussion of public trust throughout the country," the juror wrote in a motion asking for the transcripts to be released. None of the officers involved in Taylor’s killing were charged with her death. People nationwide continue to demand justice.