Sep 23, 2020
AG Daniel Cameron Press Conference Transcript September 23: Breonna Taylor Decision
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a press conference on September 23 to discuss the grand jury’s decision on the Breonna Taylor case. One of three officers involved in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Daniel Cameron: (00:00)
Good afternoon. And thank you for joining us today. I know that many in Louisville and across the Commonwealth and country have been anxiously awaiting the completion of our investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. Prior to this announcement, I spoke with Ms. Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, to share with her the results from the grand jury. Many of you in this room know that I had the opportunity last month to meet in person with her and other members of Ms. Taylor’s family, including Ms. Bianca Austin and Ms. Jenaya Palmer. I want to once again publicly express my condolences. Every day, this family wakes up to the realization that someone they loved is no longer with them. There’s nothing I can offer today to take away the grief and heartache this family is experiencing as a result of losing a child, a niece, a sister, and a friend.
Daniel Cameron: (01:13)
What I can provide today are the facts, which my office has worked long and hard to uncover, analyze and scrutinize since accepting this case in mid May. I urge everyone listening today to not lose sight of the fact that a life has been lost, a tragedy under any circumstances. The decision before my office as the special prosecutor in this case was not to decide if the loss of Ms. Taylor’s life was a tragedy. The answer to that question is unequivocally yes. There is no doubt that this is a gut wrenching emotional case, and the pain that many people are feeling is understandable. I deeply care about the value and sanctity of human life. It deserves protection. And in this case, a human life was lost. We cannot forget that.
Daniel Cameron: (02:16)
My job as the special prosecutor in this case was to put emotions aside and investigate the facts to determine if criminal violations of state law resulted in the loss of Ms. Taylor’s life. This included examining the actions of Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Brett Hankison, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, the three officers who fired their weapons in the early morning hours of March 13th. In working with our federal partners on this case, it was determined that while we would share information to advance our respective investigations, we must also maintain some level of separation to ensure the integrity of each investigation. When examining issues regarding potential civil rights violations, we determined that any such violations are better addressed through a federal led investigation and issues involving potential criminal acts concerning the shooting are better addressed by a state led investigation. With this in mind, our investigation focused on the events that took place in Ms. Taylor’s apartment on March 13th. In the months since taking this case, a dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators with more than 200 years of combined career experience conducted a thorough investigation to better understand the events that led to Ms. Taylor’s death. The team is here with me today. I want to personally and publicly thank them for their tireless work. These men and women are true public servants, who for months have shown up every day with a desire for one thing, and that is to seek the truth. We decided while we would examine materials gathered by LMPD’s public integrity unit, we would need to conduct our own independent investigation and start from scratch in the interest of thoroughness, fairness, and finding the truth.
Daniel Cameron: (04:24)
There was no video or body camera footage of the officers’ attempted execution of a search warrant at Ms. Taylor’s residence. Video footage begins at the point that area patrol officers arrive at the location. And therefore, the sequence of events from March 13th had to be pieced together through ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews. We utilized information from the Kentucky State Police, local medical examiners, as well as working with the FBI crime lab in Quantico to secure a trajectory analysis and ballistics report. Our team conducted interviews in this case and spent thousands of hours examining all of the available evidence. We concluded our last interview in this case this past Friday and began our grand jury presentation on Monday.
Daniel Cameron: (05:23)
As long as the case is making its way through our legal system, I can only speak in general terms about our independent investigation and findings. As the prosecutor, I am prohibited by the Kentucky rules of professional conduct from making public comments that could in any way prejudice this case as it moves forward. Each state has different rules about what prosecutors can and cannot say. The Kentucky rules are clear that I am prohibited from making comments to sway public opinion or heighten public condemnation of those involved in the case. These are crucial rules to ensure due process under the Constitution. When prosecutors prematurely release information about the case to the public, it can risk justice by poisoning the jury pool, violating the accused rights to a fair trial and even jeopardizing the final verdict. The success of our legal system is predicated on the principle that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Despite passions, opinions, and desire for every detail to be known, the rule of law must apply. Justice must be done.
Daniel Cameron: (06:45)
In the early morning hours of March 13th, officers from LMPD executed a search warrant at 3003 Springfield Drive, apartment four. This was Ms. Breonna Taylor’s residence. The officers were advised by superiors to knock and announce their presence in serving this specific search warrant. The scope of our investigation did not include the attainment of that warrant by LMPD’s criminal interdiction division. Federal law enforcement partners are conducting that investigation.
Daniel Cameron: (07:22)
Sergeant Mattingly and Detectives Cosgrave and Hankison had no known involvement in the proceeding investigation or obtainment of the search warrant. They were called into duty as extra personnel to effectuate the service of the search warrant. They only had information conveyed to them during their prior briefing.
Daniel Cameron: (07:46)
Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officer’s statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in a proximity to apartment four. In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant.
Daniel Cameron: (08:09)
When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to apartment four, the decision was made to breach the door. After breaching the door, Sergeant Mattingly was the first and only officer to enter the residence. Sergeant Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and a female. In his statement, he says that the male was holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance. Sergeant Mattingly saw the man’s gun fire, heard a boom, and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh.
Daniel Cameron: (08:54)
Kenneth Walker fired the shot that hit Sergeant Mattingly. And there’s no evidence to support that Sergeant Mattingly was hit by friendly fire from other officers. Mr. Walker admitted that he fired one shot and was the first to shoot. In addition to all the testimony, the ballistics report shows that the round that struck Sergeant Mattingly was fired from a nine millimeter handgun. The LMPD officers fired 40 caliber hand guns.
Daniel Cameron: (09:26)
Sergeant Mattingly returned fire down the hallway. Mattingly fired six shots. Almost simultaneously, Detective Cosgrove, also in the doorway, shot 16 times. This all took place in a matter of seconds. In total, six bullets struck Ms. Taylor. Medical evidence obtained by our team indicates that only one shot was fatal. Further medical evidence shows that Ms. Taylor would have died from the fatal shot within a few seconds to two minutes after being struck.
Daniel Cameron: (10:05)
Detective Hankison fired his weapon 10 times, including from a outside sliding glass door and through a bedroom window. Some bullets traveled through apartment four and into apartment three before some exited that apartment. At the time, three residents of apartment three were at home, including a male, a pregnant female, and a child. There’s no conclusive evidence that any bullets fired from Detective Hankison’s weapon struck Ms. Taylor.
Daniel Cameron: (10:41)
The KSP ballistics analysis did not identify which of the three officers fired the fatal shot. After receiving that information, I asked the FBI crime lab to conduct its own analysis to see if they reached the same results. The FBI ballistics analysis concluded the fatal shot was fired by Detective Cosgrove. Our office looked at both reports to determine if there were major differences in the procedures used by each lab that would have led the FBI to identify who fired the fatal shot. Both law enforcement agencies use similar equipment and analysis and each lab is highly respected for their work. There was nothing our investigators could point to, nor anything provided by the respective agencies that directly explains why one lab made the call while another did not.
Daniel Cameron: (11:40)
I think it is worth repeating again that our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker. Secondary to this justification, the KSP and FBI ballistics analysis reached different conclusions, creating a reasonable doubt in the evidence about who fired the fatal shot. I certainly understand the public’s desire for answers and many have questioned the length of the investigation. Simply put, we had to try every means necessary to determine who fired the fatal shot before the investigation could be completed.
Daniel Cameron: (12:25)
With a thorough and complete knowledge of all evidence collected in this case, lawyers with our office of special prosecutions presented the findings of our independent investigation before a grand jury comprised of Jefferson County residents beginning on Monday and concluding today. In Fletcher v. Graham, the Kentucky Supreme Court said that the grand jury has competing, but balanced functions. On the one hand, its purpose is to investigate allegations of criminal conduct and determine if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. On the other, the grand jury serves to protect the public against unfounded criminal prosecutions where probable cause is lacking. The grand jury is unique in our criminal justice system because it operates independent of the court and the prosecutor. The hallmark of the grand jury is its independence from outside influence.
Daniel Cameron: (13:29)
This independence is necessary to ensure that justice is done both for the victims and for the accused. After hearing the evidence from our team of prosecutors, the grand jury voted to return an indictment against Detective Hankison for three counts of wanton endangerment for wantonly placing the three individuals in apartment three in danger of serious physical injury or death. The charge one endangerment in the first degree is a class D felony. And if found guilty, the accused can serve up to-
Daniel Cameron: (14:03)
… D Felony, and if found guilty, the accused can serve up to five years for each count. Kentucky law states that a person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree, when under circumstances manifesting [inaudible 00:14:15] difference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct, which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person. My office is prepared to prove these charges at trial. However, it’s important to note that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. During the last six months, we’ve all heard mention of possible charges that could be brought in this case. It’s important to understand that all of the charges that have been mentioned have specific meanings and ramifications. Criminal homicide encompasses the taking of a life by another. While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation show and the grand jury agreed that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker.
Daniel Cameron: (15:19)
Let me state that again. According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrave was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death. The truth is now before us. The facts have been examined and a grand jury comprised of our peers and fellow citizens has made a decision. Justice is not often easy, does not fit the mold of public opinion, and it does not conform to shifting standards. It answers only to the facts and to the law. With this in mind, we must now ask ourselves, where do we go from here? Will we continue to prosecute the charges brought in this case, as it now proceeds through the justice system and moves to trial. That is our responsibility, and this will be done while the FBI continues its investigation into potential violations of federal law. I know that not everyone will be satisfied with the charges we’ve reported today. My team set out to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death. We did it with a singular goal in mind, pursuing the truth.
Daniel Cameron: (16:42)
Kentuckians deserve no less. The city of Louisville deserves no less. Every person has an idea of what they think justice is. My role as special prosecutor in this case is to set aside everything in pursuit of the truth. My job is to present the facts to the grand jury and the grand jury then applies those facts to the law. If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice. Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge. And in our system, criminal justice, isn’t the quest for revenge. It’s the quest for truth, evidence and facts, and the use of that truth as we fairly apply our laws. Our reaction to the truth today says what kind of society we want to be. Do we really want the truth or do want a truth that fits our narrative?
Daniel Cameron: (17:52)
Do we want the facts or are we content to blindly accept our own version of events? We as a community must make this decision. I understand that Ms. Breonna Taylor’s death has become a part of a national story and conversation, but 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. There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky would try to tell us how to feel suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t. Let’s not give into their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions. At the end of the day, it is up to us. We live here together. We work here and raise our families here together.
Daniel Cameron: (19:02)
I urge those protesting on the streets to remember this. Peaceful protests are your right as an American citizen, instigating violence and destruction are not. I spoken with both Mayor Fischer and Governor Beshear in the days leading up to this announcement and I urge them to do what is necessary to maintain law and order and to protect our cities and our people. We have a long road ahead, both as we pursue this case through the criminal system and as we address the pain in the Louisville community. I’m committed to being part of the healing process. When tragedy occurs, we must mourn. We must also do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. Today, consistent that view, I’m announcing that I will create a task force to review the process for securing, reviewing and executing search warrants in Kentucky. The task force will consist of a variety of stakeholders, including citizens, members from the law enforcement community, representatives from the judiciary, defense attorneys and elected leaders.
Daniel Cameron: (20:21)
I’ll be issuing an executive order in the coming days to create this task force. I believe conducting a top to bottom review of the search warrant process is necessary to determine if changes are required and establish best practices. You have my word that I will also vigorously prosecute the criminal charges announced today. I can assure you that my team of prosecutors will continue to give this case their attention and time. We’ll also continue to support the good men and women of our law enforcement community who put their lives on the line every day to protect and to serve. And I will fight for those across our state who feel like their voice isn’t heard, who feel marginalized, judged, and powerless to bring about change. In a world that is forcing many of us to pick a side, I choose the side of justice. I choose the side of truth. I choose a path that moves the commonwealth forward and toward healing. You have that choice as well. Let’s make it together.
Daniel Cameron: (21:39)
Thank you. And God bless. I’ll now take some questions.
Speaker 1: (21:44)
Can you talk about the racial and gender makeup of the [inaudible 00:21:48]
Daniel Cameron: (21:49)
I won’t get into the specifics of the makeup of the grand jury.
Mr. Cameron you mentioned that Breonna Taylor was hit by six bullets. You identified the one that killed her. Who shot the other five bullets and did any of Hankinson’s bullets hit Ms. Taylor?
Daniel Cameron: (22:04)
Based on the evidence, there’s nothing conclusive to say that Detective Hankinson’s, any of his bullets, hit Ms. Taylor.
Speaker 2: (22:16)
[inaudible 00:22:16] because basically what you’re saying today, the grand jury basically found that none of the officers involved are directly responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death.
Daniel Cameron: (22:33)
Well, as I said from the beginning, and I appreciate that question, this is a tragedy. And sometimes the criminal law is not adequate to respond to a tragedy. And I fully acknowledge that. And I know many that are watching today and those that are listening recognize that as well. But the response is that the grand jury was given all of the evidence, presented all of the information and ultimately made the determination that Detective Hankinson was the one to be indicted.
Speaker 2: (23:12)
To be clear, did your special prosecutors make a recommendation to the grand jury?
Daniel Cameron: (23:15)
Grand jury proceedings are secret. And so I’m not going to get into the specifics of details about that proceeding. What I will say is that we presented all of the information and they ultimately made a determination about whether to charge. In this instance, they decided to indict Detective Hankinson.
Speaker 3: (23:38)
[inaudible 00:23:38] firing in self defense, do you think state law needs to be changed?
Daniel Cameron: (23:41)
I’m sorry. Say that again.
Speaker 3: (23:42)
When it comes to officers firing back in self defense, do you think the current state law need to be changed with cases like this?
Daniel Cameron: (23:49)
Well, my role as the special prosecutor in this case was to provide the information and facts to the grand jury. Detective Cosgrove and Sergeant Mattingly were justified in returning fire because they were fired upon. I’ll leave it to others to make determinations. We have vigorous self defense laws in this state. And that is something that existed prior to this case. And I’ll let others make judgements about that. Yes, sir.
Speaker 4: (24:18)
One big question surrounding this case is whether or not the officers knocked and announced their presence. Talk about the evidence that you came to, that they did announce their presence.
Daniel Cameron: (24:30)
Yes. The statements that were made by officers there the night or the morning of March 13th, show that they did knock and announce. The important point here is that information was corroborated by another witness who was in close proximity to apartment four, who corroborated that information and said that there was a knocking and announcing by the officers.
Speaker 5: (24:57)
Was the witness a civilian or a law enforcement officer?
Daniel Cameron: (25:00)
The witness was a civilian.
If a wanton endangerment takes while there is a death involved, would there not be a manslaughter charge if there was a death that occurred during [inaudible 00:25:12]
Daniel Cameron: (25:13)
Well, Christian, your question, I think it, again, is important to step back and recognize that what we did was uncover all the information and facts related to the morning of March 13th and then provided that information to the grand jury. The grand jury had every piece of detail needed to make their assessment and their judgements. And ultimately their conclusion was that the decision needed to be made to indict. Mr. Hankinson.
Rukmini Callimachi: (25:44)
Mr. Cameron, Mr. Cameron. Rukmini Callimachi with the New York Times. Right here. Right here sir.
Daniel Cameron: (25:48)
I’m sorry. Yes ma’am.
Rukmini Callimachi: (25:49)
Hi. Two questions for you. Number one, you said that she was shot six times yet her death certificate says five. Can you please explain the discrepancy? And the second thing is journalists in this room, myself included have taken apart that apartment complex looking for witnesses to the point that you made about the knocking and announcing. Of a dozen witnesses that I spoke to, only one, a man who was directly upstairs heard them announce. Do you think that’s enough in the middle of the night when somebody is asleep for just one person in a tight-knit apartment block to have heard that? Is that a sufficient way of announcing?
Daniel Cameron: (26:23)
Well, let me try to answer your second question first. Your question was, it is enough for me. I think the more pertinent question is what was the evidence provided to the grand jury? What was sufficient for their purposes? They got to hear and listened to all the testimony and made the determination that Detective Hankinson was the one that needed to be indicted knowing all of the relative points that you made. As to your first question, can you repeat it one more time?
Rukmini Callimachi: (26:57)
Her death certificate says five and yet you are saying six. Today’s the first time I’m hearing six.
Daniel Cameron: (27:02)
Yes. So there is a bullet that was lodged… and bullet might be too generous a term. There was an object that was lodged into one of her feet. And so that is what is being referred to as the sixth, I guess, projectile.
Speaker 6: (27:27)
Are you going to release the full grand jury report?
Daniel Cameron: (27:32)
Can you say that one more time-
Speaker 6: (27:33)
Are you going to release the full grand jury report?
Daniel Cameron: (27:36)
Well, I am… right now because there is a pending indictment. I think it is our practice. And because there is an ongoing FBI investigation to revisit that question. But at this point, I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to release any information.
Speaker 7: (27:55)
And just for clarification. You said that Hankinson fired 10 times from the other side. Into apartment 4 and into apartment 3 show conclusive evidence any of those shots hit
Speaker 8: (28:03)
[inaudible 00:28:00] any of those shots hit [inaudible 00:28:04], can you expand on that [inaudible 00:28:06]?a
Daniel Cameron: (28:06)
Well, that is what the evidence shows, is that there was nothing conclusive to demonstrate that any of his bullets hit.
Speaker 8: (28:15)
[inaudible 00:28:15] the door open, or the fact that maybe one of his shots did hit her?
Daniel Cameron: (28:22)
Well, again, all the evidence was given to the grand jury and they made the decision that wanton endangerment was the charge to file, or to indict against Mr. Hankinson.
Speaker 9: (28:33)
Okay. And thank you.
Daniel Cameron: (28:34)
Wait. Yes. One more.
Speaker 10: (28:35)
Daniel Cameron: (28:47)
Your last question about providing information. In any investigation, a criminal investigation, the best practice, and this is whether on the state or the federal level, is to not make too many specific comments about the investigation, because you do not want to compromise that investigation. There are also ethical considerations, as investigators and prosecutors, that we’re responsible to abide by as well. Some of those obligations continue now, because we have a responsibility to pursue the prosecution against Detective Hankinson.
Daniel Cameron: (29:28)
It’s my judgment very early on that we needed to take this case in the Attorney General’s office. As you know, the Commonwealth’s attorney was conflicted out of this case because of another matter that he was pursuing. I could have farmed the case out to another Commonwealth’s attorney in one of our 120 counties. Instead, I did not do that because the resources that we have to bring to bear, and the relationships that we have with our federal partners, in my judgment, were needed to uncover the truth in this case.
Daniel Cameron: (30:07)
And part of the reason the investigation took so long is because we needed to make sure that we were doing a thorough job of looking at all the facts and gathering all the materials, interviewing witnesses, making sure that all of our people felt confident in their presentation to the grand jury. I will remind you, as late as Friday, we were still interviewing people in this case. The length of it is because this case deserves thorough and fair analysis. That was needed and deserved by Breonna and by her family, for the officers involved, for the community of Louisville, and for the Commonwealth. We needed to have a thorough investigation.
Daniel Cameron: (31:01)
We also got the FBI involved. In terms of the ballistics report, we needed additional, their ability to scrutinize and make an independent assessment as well. The length of the investigation was a reflection, I hope people understand, of how important it was that we got this right. We didn’t want to rush it. And we did not. And I’m grateful to the team that is behind me for the work that they did. Look, over 200 years of combined experience. These are prosecutors and investigators who don’t care about political distinctions, don’t care about influence in any particular regard. What they care about is the truth. And we presented that to the grand jury.
Speaker 9: (31:48)
Daniel Cameron: (31:49)
Maria Sacchetti: (31:52)
Daniel Cameron: (31:53)
I won’t get into what our private conversation was. Yes, ma’am.
Speaker 9: (31:56)
Yes. What do you say to people who say this is just another example of the black community not getting full justice? And what specifically do you plan to do to calm a community that’s long been hurting? And do you understand that anger that people might feel?
Daniel Cameron: (32:09)
I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Ms. Taylor. 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 for make sure that we did everything we possibly could to uncover every fact.
Daniel Cameron: (32:54)
And I know, look, this team, myself, the members of the representatives of the Attorney General’s office have taken a lot of criticism and scrutiny. But that scrutiny in many ways was misplaced, because there was not a day that people in this office didn’t go to sleep thinking about this case. And it wasn’t a day where the first thing on our minds is getting to the truth in this case. And obviously again, the criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief. And that is true here, but my heart breaks for the loss of Ms. Taylor.
Daniel Cameron: (33:36)
And I’ve said that repeatedly, my mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard. And I’ve seen that pain on Ms. Palmer’s face. I’ve seen that pain in the community. And what our responsibility in the AG’s office was to make sure that we uncovered every fact, that we utilized every resource that we could bring to bear, to uncover the facts and the truth. And that’s ultimately what we presented to the grand jury.
Daniel Cameron: (34:14)
On the question of what I’m going to do, I’ve talked to partners in the community about helping to be a constructive member of any conversations moving forward. I recognize in my remarks, I mentioned the fact that we’ll be establishing a task force in the coming days ahead to look at best practices for warrants. So there is a lot that I can do in this platform to help.
Maria Sacchetti: (34:42)
Okay, sir, this is Maria Sacchetti with the Washington Post. Just had a couple of quick questions.
Daniel Cameron: (34:46)
I hear your voice. Okay, yes ma’am.
Maria Sacchetti: (34:48)
Hi, sorry. Over here on the back.
Daniel Cameron: (34:50)
No, that’s okay.
Maria Sacchetti: (34:50)
Just wanted to double check. Did the grand jury ever consider the charges of manslaughter, reckless homicide? And if not, could you please explain why? And do you anticipate any other charges in this case?
Daniel Cameron: (35:01)
I apologize. Could you say that a little louder? I think I got it.
Maria Sacchetti: (35:04)
Sure. Did the grand jury ever consider manslaughter, reckless homicide, or those kinds of charges? And if not, please explain why. And do you anticipate any other charges, or is this it?
Daniel Cameron: (35:17)
I won’t get into the specifics again of the proceedings themselves are secret. But what I will say is that our team walked them through every homicide offense, and also presented all of the information that was available to the grand jury. And then the grand jury was ultimately the one that made the decision about indicting Detective Hankinson for wanton endangerment.
Daniel Cameron: (35:50)
I think that in terms of what happened in the wee hours of March 13th, in terms of that particular or specific date and what happened that night in the apartment, I think it is unlikely that there’ll be any additional prosecutions that come from that event itself.
Speaker 11: (36:16)
Attorney general. So can you go into the confusion over the fatal shot that was fired and what the issue was there in terms of determining that, and then also did you present to the grand jury with any charges against Mattingly and Cosgrove?
Daniel Cameron: (36:34)
Well, as to your first question, what I think you asked about was…
Speaker 11: (36:41)
[inaudible 00:36:41] the fatal shot.
Daniel Cameron: (36:43)
Yes. The reports that were provided to us by the Kentucky State Police and then the FBI as it relates to ballistics. So initially we got the report from Kentucky State Police, and it was inconclusive about making a determination into that fatal shot. Again, with the relationships that we have with our federal law enforcement community, namely the FBI, I thought it imperative that we utilize that resource. They undertook an independent analysis and review of, and conducted or provided a ballistics report. There is nothing that this team was able to glean suggesting that there was an objective reason for why FBI was able to conclusively or definitively state that Mr. Cosgrove fired the fatal shot. Both again, KSP, their lab, well-regarded well-respected. FBI, equally regarded and respected.
Daniel Cameron: (37:56)
That said, it certainly creates some issue in terms of providing that information to the grand jury, and providing that at any subsequent prosecution. It was from our judgment important to provide both of those to the grand jury, and then ultimately let them make a determination about what to do with that information.
Speaker 11: (38:21)
Were they presented with charges for Mattingly or Cosgrove?
Daniel Cameron: (38:24)
Speaker 11: (38:24)
Were they presented with any charges for Mattingly or Cosgrove?
Daniel Cameron: (38:28)
What I will say is that they were walked through all the homicide offenses, and with that information and the information and facts that were provided to them that we uncovered in our investigation, they made the determination that Detective Hankinson was the one that needed to be indicted here. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 12: (38:49)
General Cameron, just a couple points. First of all, [inaudible 00:38:52]. Second question is, could you give me an idea of the percentage of people [inaudible 00:39:02] investigators [inaudible 00:39:06] grand jury?
Daniel Cameron: (39:08)
So what I will say is, obviously I don’t want to get into the proceedings related to Mr. Walker. That’s a separate, so I’m not going to have any comment on that. This team behind me presented to the grand jury. And your other question was about the racial makeup of…
Speaker 12: (39:29)
Percentage of [inaudible 00:39:31].
Daniel Cameron: (39:32)
Well I’m black, and I speak for the entire department. And I hope that will satisfy that question. Yes ma’am.
Daniel Cameron: (39:46)
Yes. Ma’am. I’m sorry.
Speaker 13: (39:47)
[inaudible 00:39:47] in America. I know that you said the investigation has obviously taken months, and it was presented to the grand jury Monday. Can you tell us, when did the grand jury actually, how long did they deliberate? Did they begin on Monday or did they begin Tuesday? And that was of this week, correct?
Daniel Cameron: (40:04)
The grand jury was presented with the information today. I won’t get into the specifics of when they began their deliberations, but I will say that they started early Monday and concluded sometime before noon. They heard everything they needed to hear. We didn’t withhold anything from them. And I hope that satisfies your question.
Speaker 14: (40:36)
General, can you tell me a little bit more about this task force? Senate President Stivers and Representative Scott are introducing warrant bills for the next legislative session. Are they going to be on this task force, perchance? And will you be taking some of the information from the bills they pre-file to work with on this?
Daniel Cameron: (40:58)
Well, I don’t want to put obviously the cart before the horse, but I did mention in the remarks that we are certainly going to have elected leaders on this task force. And I imagine that some of the policy questions and some of the policy proposals that have already been put forward and have entered into the public conversation will be a part of this task force.
Daniel Cameron: (41:26)
But I want to make sure that people recognize that this task force is being established not to demonize any one side, or any one department or agency. I think it’s a healthy thing for the Attorney General, from time to time, to be a part of a conversation with all the 120 counties, I’m not talking or singling out any county specifically, but with all 120 counties about best practices that can be utilized. I had a recent conversation with somebody that said, there’s always room for improvement. I think that’s-
Daniel Cameron: (42:03)
… with somebody that said there’s always room for improvement. I think that’s important in any industry, important in any job. And so, as part of my role as the Attorney General, I certainly recognize the part I have to play in making sure that all of our systems in government are improved upon, whether it be because of a particular matter that occurred, or because from time to time, it’s just the responsible thing to do.
Speaker 15: (42:29)
Did any of the officers asked to testify or present evidence to the grand jury and were any allowed to?
Daniel Cameron: (42:40)
Well, what I’ll say on that is, again, I don’t want to get into the specifics, but testimony was heard by the grand jury of all sorts of witnesses and folks. And so, again, all relevant information was provided to the grand jury for them to make their assessment. Yes, sir.
Speaker 14: (43:03)
When you look at the analysis of the path of the bullets, how was it that Kenneth Walker, who fired the shot at the officers, was not hit, and Breonna Taylor was hit so many times?
Daniel Cameron: (43:16)
Well, that’s part of the tragedy here. And again, I don’t want to get into the specifics, but the fact that she was hit, it breaks my heart, and it breaks the collective heart of all the country. But I don’t want to get, because we have now a open prosecution, I don’t want to get too into the details of the trajectories themselves.
Speaker 16: (43:45)
Two follow up question. One, I understand that the names of grand jurors aren’t released, but what rule or standard prevents you from releasing the racial and gender makeup of the grand jury? And number two, you’ve mentioned that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, but could you clarify how many shots in all that hit Ms. Taylor were fired by Mattingly and how many shots that hit Ms. Taylor were fired by Cosgrove?
Daniel Cameron: (44:11)
Well, let’s do the last question. Inconclusive, in terms of how many shots from each officer. We weren’t able to identify with that level of specificity. As to the question about the makeup of the grand jury, we might be able to, I need to confirm on that front about-
Daniel Cameron: (44:43)
Yeah. The fact that this has received so much scrutiny, I think it would be inappropriate for me to share the information about the makeup of the grand jury, just to the extent I can protect them.
Speaker 17: (44:58)
Will you release the investigative file or recommend that LMPD release it?
Daniel Cameron: (45:05)
Well, look, the role that we now have is to pursue the ongoing prosecution against Detective Hankinson. And so I think it would be irresponsible at this juncture for this office to release any sort of file. Again, because we have this ongoing prosecution and I’m not going to comment on, and I think I certainly shouldn’t be recommending, again, because of the ongoing prosecution, any sort of recommendation as it relates to a release of a file.
Speaker 18: (45:37)
We’re going to have time for two more questions.
Daniel Cameron: (45:40)
Daniel Cameron: (45:41)
Daniel Cameron: (45:53)
Well, I certainly don’t think that, whether it’s the grand jury, or our responsibility as the investigators or prosecutors, it’s to find the truth. And so when folks from outside of the Commonwealth suggest or make their preferences or their opinions known, it should have no bearing on our role as prosecutor, and as investigator and fact finder.
Daniel Cameron: (46:23)
Even with folks within the Commonwealth, again, this is a tragedy. I don’t want to lose sight of that, but we do have a responsibility to look at the facts as they are, and we can’t be in the business, I don’t think we want a justice system that is in the business of fashioning facts or laws to a particular narrative. We have to be in the business of presenting the information to the grand jury, and ultimately allowing them to make a decision about what to do subsequently.
Speaker 18: (46:55)
Daniel Cameron: (46:55)
Yes, ma’am far in the back. Actually, we’ll take these last two here. Okay. So either one can start.
Maria Sacchetti: (47:02)
Sorry. I apologize. Thank you very much, sir. I wanted to ask if you believe personally that someone should have been charged with homicide, or one of the similar charges in this case, and if you could please walk us through what happened after the officers knocked on the door, did they hear an answer? How long did they wait before everything erupted? So, both of those questions, please, and thank you very much.
Daniel Cameron: (47:31)
As to your first question, again, this is about what the grand jury decided. One of the misconceptions out there is that the Attorney General’s office was in the business of making charges, and that’s just simply not the case under Kentucky law. Our role is to present the information to the grand jury. We dispense with that responsibility. We did it after a protracted investigation that uncovered all of the facts. That was our role. That was our responsibility. And we presented everything to the grand jury for them to ultimately make a judgment about what to do next. And in this case, in this incident, they decided to indict Detective Hankinson.
Daniel Cameron: (48:15)
As to your other question about what was provided to the grand jury, I can’t get into the details or specifics on that particular issue.
Speaker 19: (48:29)
Yes, sir. In the beginning, you said that you spoke with Breonna Taylor’s family today. I know you can’t tell us word for word what they said to you, but how was the news received?
Daniel Cameron: (48:42)
Well, it was a hard meeting and I won’t go any further, I won’t elaborate, but it was a difficult meeting. When I ran for this office, I ran because I had some singular ideas in mind. You never know exactly what issues you’ll be presented with, and what challenges you’ll be presented with, and today was one of those challenges. To have to sit in that room and provide the information to Ms. Palmer, and to other members of the Taylor family. It’s been a difficult day. This is a difficult day for everyone standing up here. This is a difficult day for those here that have to report this. And it’s a very difficult day for Louisville, all of the Commonwealth, all of the country. I recognize that. And I certainly recognize the responsibility that I have to help in the healing process.
Daniel Cameron: (49:52)
As I noted in my remarks, I hope that those that are home watching, those that perhaps have ideas about being angry or pained by this decision, I hope we will respond in a manner that respects our First Amendment rights, but also respects our responsibility, as the Bible talks about, loving our neighbors, and that we can do so keeping Breonna Taylor’s legacy in mind, but also in a way that respects Louisville, our city, the city I live in, that respects all of our community. So again, this is a hard day. I am under no illusion that it is not. And all I can offer is that our office uncovered every fact that was relevant to the wee hours, the morning hours, of March 13th. We provided that information to the grand jury, and you all now, whether you’re sitting here, or whether you’re at home, know the results of that process.
Daniel Cameron: (51:05)
And now we have the responsibility to prosecute that indictment, move forward in that matter. But all of us have a responsibility to work together, to find common ground, to find ways to love one another, and just be good neighbors. And so that’s what I implore, as you all report on this in a responsible manner, that’s what implore those that are watching on television, is that we all have the responsibility of coming together now. I hope that you will take that charge seriously. Our governor likes to talk about team Kentucky, and I believe him earnestly, in that charge. And I hope that extends to the results that were issued here today, and I hope that extends to all of our neighbors in all of our communities. Thank you. And God bless.