FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Gov. Andy Beshear called upon Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release information on the Breonna Taylor investigation that will not hurt the prosecution of the charges against Louisville Metro Police Officer Brett Hankinson.
During a Capitol press conference, just a few hours after a Jefferson County grand jury returned an indictment on three counts of felony Wanton Endangerment, for actions that took place surrounding thedeath of Taylor, Beshear said, “Everyone can, and should, be informed. Those who are currently feeling frustration, feeling hurt, they deserve to know more.”
Beshear said he trusts Kentuckians, “They deserve to see the facts for themselves, and I believe that the ability to process those facts helps everybody.”
The governor urged Cameron to post the information online. “I believe that no matter what somebody’s perspective is on today’s announcement, having the full amount of information out there, and these have been posted by other prosecutors before across the nation in different situations, is hopefully something that can help us to talk to each other and help us heal, help us move forward and help us always to make improvements.
J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Executive Cabinet, and a former Jefferson District Judge and deputy Attorney General, said sometimes changing someone’s hearts and minds is not enough, we really need to change our behavior.
“The criminal justice system right now needs certain changes, not just in behavior, but in process," he said. "The first involves technological changes. There are rules of evidence, that were developed sometimes hundreds of years ago, and hasn’t caught up with technology.”
Brown also said the criminal justice system needs to be more transparent and understandable to the public. “There are certain things that are facts, whether it’s a photograph or a tape recording or a report, that won’t change over the course of a tribunal and won’t necessarily prejudice either the defendant and the presumption of innocence, or the prosecution, whose job it is to seek justice.”
Democratic State Rep. Charles Booker, whose district represents part of West Louisville, which is where Taylor was killed, was more blunt in his assessment of the grand jury action, which did not return charges against two other LMPD officers, Johnathon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, who fired the shots that killed Taylor.
“Let’s be clear,” Booker, who is Black, said during the governor’s press briefing, “Justice failed us today. It failed us in a way that it’s been failing us for generations. We are here doing this work and elected to do this work, because we need to make justice ring true; because it has failed us.”
Beshear also announced there were 796 new cases of the coronavirus reported to state officials on Wednesday, 111 of which were children 18 and under. That brings the total number of cases in Kentucky to 63,517.
There were also five new deaths, making it 1,124 Kentuckians lost to the virus. 530 people are currently hospitalized, 123 of them in ICU.
The state’s positivity rate, based on a seven-day rolling average, dropped slightly, from 4.62 percent on Tuesday, to 4.59 percent on Wednesday.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from the Beshear administration on the response to the pandemic at kycovid19.ky.gov.
The governor’s last scheduled press briefing for the week takes place Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. and will be livestreamed on both his Facebook page and YouTube channel.