Kentucky judge rules grand juror can speak publicly about Breonna Taylor case

(Reuters) - A Kentucky judge ruled on Tuesday that an anonymous grand juror may speak publicly about the evidence that the state attorney general presented in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by police officers.

The juror, whose name has not been publicly disclosed, filed suit against the state for permission to speak freely about the secret grand jury proceeding. The suit suggested that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron may have misrepresented details of the case that the jury heard.

The proceedings that ended with the jury recommending no homicide charges against the three white officers in the case, an outcome that stoked days of protests over the use of excessive force by police against blacks and minorities. One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbor's apartment.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep in her apartment March 13, when police burst in, looking for contraband that focused on her ex-boyfriend.[L1N2H40KF]

Walker, who later said that he had thought the police were burglars, fired once, wounding one officer. Three police officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Taylor, who died at the scene.

Judge Annie O'Connell said she made her decision after considering "the interest of citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be assured that its publicly elected officials are being honest in their representations."

She further wrote that the grand jurors needed to be certain that "their work is not mischaracterized by the very prosecutors on whom they relied to advise them."

Cameron's office was not immediately available for comment. But his office has argued to the court that allowing the grand jurors to speak may compromise the right to a fair trial of the officer charged in connection with the incident.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

10/20/2020 20:23

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