Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Friday released the much-anticipated recordings of the grand jury proceedings in the deadly shooting of Breonna Taylor involving three Louisville police officers earlier this year.
The audio, which officials estimated to be 20 hours long, was ordered to be released by noon ET Friday, after Cameron requested a delay earlier this week so his office could have more time to redact people’s names and other personal information before it was made public.
It includes officers’ testimony that they knocked on Taylor’s door multiple times and announced the police presence before entering, according to the Associated Press.
“We knocked on the door, said police, waited I don’t know 10 or 15 seconds. Knocked again, said police, waited even longer,” Louisville police Lt. Shawn Hoover said in an interview recorded March 13, the same date Taylor was shot, and later played for the grand jury.
“So it was the third time that we were approaching, it had been like 45 seconds if not a minute,” Hoover said. “And then I said, `Let’s go, let’s breach it.’”
But two neighbors interviewed by investigators with the Kentucky attorney general’s office said they did not hear police officers knocking before they entered Breonna Taylor’s apartment on the night of March 13.
An investigator told the grand jury that one neighbor said he was awakened by the sound of what he thought was somebody kicking his door in. The investigators said the neighbor “knows for a fact he did not hear anyone saying Louisville Metro Police Department or anything prior to being awakened.” Another neighbor told investigators that he did not hear anyone knocking on apartment doors.
Taylor’s boyfriend also told investigators that he did not hear police announce themselves.
One law enforcement officer testified that police ultimately never executed the warrant to search Taylor’s apartment.
“Were drugs money or paraphernalia recovered from apartment 4? … The answer to that is no,” the officer said on the recording. “They didn’t go forward with executing the initial search warrant that they had for Breonna Taylor’s apartment.”
Ben Crump, one of the attorneys who represents Taylor’s family, said in a tweet on Friday that his firm would be reviewing the audio and provide updates. Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney, also represents families of Daniel Prude, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said Friday it will also conduct its own review of the grand jury audio recordings, and will make public its assessment of the case “in the near future.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency medical worker, lived with her sister in an apartment in Louisville. She and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in her bedroom on the night of March 13 when police came to her door with a narcotics warrant.
Cameron, a Republican and the state’s first Black attorney general, said Louisville Metro Police Sgt. John Mattingly entered Taylor’s home after the door had been broken in. Walker then allegedly shot him in the leg, later explaining that he thought an intruder was breaking in, according to reports.
For months, the raid had been characterized in reports and by officials as the execution of a “no-knock warrant,” meaning law enforcement officers enter without knocking or announcing themselves. But Cameron later clarified that officers did knock before breaking down the door.
Mattingly, Det. Brett Hankison and Det. Myles Cosgrove then returned fire; Taylor was shot six times, Cameron said.
According to the recordings, Hankison initially claimed Taylor was the one who shot at officers when they entered her apartment. He said in a March interview heard by the grand jury that Walker told him that Taylor was dead. Hankinson said that Walker said, “she was the one who shot at us.”
Walker later told investigators that, minutes after the shooting, after he opened fire at police and officers fatally shot Taylor, “One officer told me I was going to jail for the rest of my life,” according to the audio of the proceedings.
Speaking to internal investigators a few hours later, he said he wasn’t sure which officer said that to him. During an interview that was played for the grand jury, Walker went on to say that an officer “asked me, ‘Were you hit by any bullets?′ I said no. He said, ‘That’s unfortunate.’ Exact words.”
In the audio recording of the grand jury session, someone in the room could be heard saying, “That’s not appropriate.”
Last week, the grand jury announced it had voted to indict one of the three officers, Hankison, on wanton endangerment charges for allegedly firing bullets into the neighboring apartment with three people inside. He pleaded not guilty on Monday.
But none of the officers were indicted on charges directly related to Taylor’s death. Cameron presented the evidence to the jury and later admitted he did not recommend murder charges.
A member of the grand jury filed a motion to have the transcripts released and for jurors to be allowed to speak publicly about the proceedings, which are typically kept private.
After releasing the recordings on Friday, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office said in a press release that the redacted audio comprises “approximately three minutes and fifty seconds of the entire proceedings.” The office also provided an un-redacted copy to the court as a sealed record.
“I’m confident that once the public listens to the recordings, they will see that our team presented a thorough case to the Jefferson County Grand Jury,” Cameron said in a prepared statement. “Our presentation followed the facts and the evidence, and the Grand Jury was given a complete picture of the events surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death on March 13th. While it is unusual for a court to require the release of the recordings from Grand Jury proceedings, we complied with the order, rather than challenging it, so that the full truth can be heard.”
The recordings, the office said, “contain the entire presentation of evidence.” The proceedings released to the public do not contain prosecutors’ recommendations about what, if any, charges the jury should file against the officers who conducted the drug raid that led to Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting.
According to the release, neither the prosecutors’ recommendations nor the jury’s deliberations were recorded “as they are not evidence.” He said not recording them was “customary.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.