WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Photo by Kenny Katz
Exxactly eight months after Louisville police murdered Breonna Taylor in her bed, none of the cops who fired 32 rounds at her have been held accountable even as two grand jurors have again come forward to say they should be. The two unnamed jurors – a white male, a black male – first spoke up last month after one of them filed a motion seeking the legal right to speak publicly about what he charged were lies told by District Attorney Daniel Cameron during murky grand jury proceedings. Days later, the second juror backed up his charges. At a news conference, Cameron had claimed grand jurors “agreed” police were justified in the shooting, and declined to bring any of six possible homicide charges available to them. In fact, it seems Cameron “lied, and lied multiple times.” In subsequent interviews, the jurors said “there was an uproar” when prosecutors announced they wouldn’t bring any homicide charges; that Cameron never mentioned other possible charges until at the press conference; that unlike roughly 40 cases they’d heard in their month-long service, prosecutors in Taylor’s case “deliberately did it backwards,” announcing charges for the jurors to vote on not before but after evidence was presented. “Was justice done? No,” said Juror #1. “We were never given the opportunity to deliberate any other charges,” said Juror #2, calling Cameron’s claims “false all the way around.” In an interview Wednesday with VICE News, both men repeated their charges, citing their “anger, shock, dismay” at Cameron’s claims. “He just lied,” they said. “We were used as puppets – we did not agree with anything he said.”
Juror #1 told VICE “I came out of my chair” when he heard Cameron’s claim about his instructions to the jury. He was speaking up again because, “I needed Breonna’s mom and the community to know that it wasn’t the grand jury that made this decision. It was Daniel Cameron and his office.” Said Juror #2, “They thought we were just gonna do exactly what they told us to do. Keep our mouths closed and (just) walk out of that room, and it didn’t happen that way.” He also felt police repeatedly lied while describing the night’s events: “Each of the officers had a different story. The only time their story came together was when they said three phrases – ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I don’t remember,’ ‘I’m not sure.’ They had holes in their stories (and) they had holes in their holes.” Nonetheless, thanks to “absurd legal maneuvering,” three cops did get off scot free. Bizarrely, the fourth, Brett Hankison, was charged on three counts of wanton endangerment – not for killing Taylor but for firing “blindly” into a neighbor’s apartment. This week, a judge ruled evidence in his case should be made public. And on Tuesday, law student Margo Borders filed a lawsuit charging Hankison “intentionally, painfully and violently” sexually assaulted her in April 2018 after he gave her a ride home from a local bar where he was working as security. The suit also names former Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad and five other officers as defendants, alleging they consistently failed to punish Hankison for a longtime pattern of harassing and sexually assaulting often intoxicated women at the bar. Her attorney said Borders felt “it was necessary to come forward (and) hold Brett accountable. He used his uniform and badge to target unsuspecting women. It’s disgusting.” There’s a lot of it going around – in Louisville, across the country. Justice for Breonna Taylor, and all the rest.
Update: Jesus, there’s evidently A LOT of it going around. A bombshell report finds that Lousiville police and the county attorney’s office hid 738,000 files documenting sexual abuse of minors by police.
Photo by Karen Dusey
Saying her name. Getty photo
Thugs ‘R Us. Brett Hankison booking photo.