Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron Tuesday night suggested the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor case could have made an “assessment about different charges,” in an exclusive on-camera interview with CNN affiliate WDRB.
“They’re an independent body,” Cameron said in the interview. “If they wanted to make an assessment about different charges, they could’ve done that. But our recommendation was that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their acts and their conduct.”
Officers Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly were two of the three officers involved in Taylor’s death. Taylor, an EMT, was killed in her own home when the plainclothes officers executed a “no-knock” warrant.
Cosgrove and Mattingly have not been indicted in the case. The third officer, Brett Hankison, has been indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment of the first degree.
In the interview with WDRB, Cameron also said he didn’t seek murder charges against Cosgrove or Mattingly.
“Ultimately, our judgment is that the charge that we could prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt was for wanton endangerment against Mr. Hankison,” Cameron said.
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates said it’s rare, if not unheard of, that a grand juror would go beyond the statutes presented to them by the prosecutor.
“Normally the grand jury is simply voting on the statutes presented to the grand jury, they are not combing through the criminal code to see if prosecutors could pursue criminal charges,” Coates said. “They are far more reactive to facts that are presented to them than they are seeking criminal statutes to charge a defendant under.”
The bullet that hit Sgt. Mattingly
In his news conference last week, Cameron said Kenneth Walker fired the shot that hit Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly but Walker’s attorney has disputed that fact.
“This notion that somehow there was a friendly fire or cross-fire that hit Sgt. Mattingly is a silly idea,” Cameron told WDRB Tuesday.
“To believe that idea is to suggest that somehow bullets that were fired from outside of the apartment down the side of the apartment unit somehow it made a sharp turn left to hit Mattingly in order to match up with the entry wound,” he added.
Walker’s attorney Steve Romines told CNN’s Chris Cuomo last week that Walker did not shoot Mattingly in the thigh and that a ballistics report from the Kentucky State Police does not support the prosecution’s assertion that the one bullet Walker fired struck Mattingly.
Cameron says charges have to be founded on the law, facts
The law doesn’t give the attorney general’s office “license to make charges that are not founded on the law and the facts,” Cameron said.
“Our responsibility in the AG’s office is to the truth and to the facts. I cannot fashion the facts in such a way to meet a narrative that in many ways had already been put out there before the facts had been put out there”
CNN’s Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report.