Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron explained Wednesday afternoon that no police officers would be charged directly for the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville in March because they knocked before entering her boyfriend’s apartment.
Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician, was killed in the crossfire when her boyfriend opened fire at police, thinking they were intruders.
A grand jury indicted one officer, Brett Hankison, for wanton endangerment for allegedly firing into neighboring apartments. Two other officers involved, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not charged.
Cameron convened a special press conference to announce the grand jury’s decision, and to answer journalists’ questions. After expressing his condolences to Taylor’s family, Cameron explained that the officers who had shot Taylor would not be charged because they had been fired upon first, and because her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, testified that they had knocked first.
He described the extensive, independent investigation that the state had undertaken, outside the Louisville police inquiry. He said that the state had worked with federal law enforcement, including analysis from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The grand jury had considered the evidence this week, starting on Monday, and took just a few days to arrive at a conclusion.
Cameron noted that the three officers had been asked to serve the search warrant but had not been involved in the investigation leading to it being issued.
“Evidence shows that officers both knocked an announced their presence at the apartment,” Cameron said. He said that had been corroborated by testimony from an independent witness who was nearby.
As Breitbart News reported in July, although the officers had been granted a “no-knock” warrant, Mattingly told investigators that police had decided to knock anyway. His account was corroborated by Walker’s own account of events.
Mattingly was hit by a bullet from Walker’s gun, and was not hit by “friendly fire.” He returned fire, as did Cosgrove. Taylor was ultimately hit by six bullets, according to Cameron. The FBI concluded that the fatal shot had been fired by Cosgrove.
“Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after being fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” he said.
Cameron urged those listening to him to note the tragedy of the situation: “A human life was lost, and we cannot forget that.”
He said he would convene a task force to study the process of issuing and serving warrants in the State of Kentucky.
Breonna Taylor has become one of the iconic victims cited by supporters of the Black Lives Matter protests and riots.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.