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Civil Rights Lawyer Ben Crump Discusses Breonna Taylor Case, Grand Jury Indictment

NOEL KING, HOST:

Protesters, community leaders and Breonna Taylor's family have so many questions. They want details about the investigation into why and how she was shot and killed inside her apartment. They want to know why none of the three Louisville police officers involved in that case were charged directly for killing Breonna. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the grand jury's decision on Wednesday. He pointed out that there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, but he said the investigation and the grand jury determined those charges didn't apply to the two officers, sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and detective Myles Cosgrove, who shot at Taylor.

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DANIEL CAMERON: According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor's death.

KING: The family's attorney, Ben Crump, is on the line with me now. Good morning, sir.

BEN CRUMP: Morning, Noel.

KING: How is the Taylor family doing?

CRUMP: Noel, they are heartbroken and devastated and baffled and confused just like me and my co-counsels, attorney Lonita Baker and attorney Sam Aguiar, because we are trying to figure out what evidence the Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, present to this grand jury. And did he present any evidence on behalf of Breonna Taylor? Because if he didn't, he unilaterally put his thumb on the scales of justice to exonerate these police officers for killing this Black woman in the sanctity of her own home and to make sure that she would not have her day in court and that she would not get justice. And after for 191 days, all the Black Lives Matter activists and people all over the country saying, say her name, he did not once mention her name on the indictment.

KING: I should note that you are not the only person who thinks this process has not been transparent enough. Kentucky's governor, Andy Beshear, and state Rep. Charles Booker are both asking the attorney general to release the details of the investigation and the grand jury indictment. They would like to see the evidence. They would like the public to see the evidence. Here's what Rep. Booker said to me yesterday.

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CHARLES BOOKER: Throughout this process, transparency was never there. The community was left in the dark. Leadership, even elected leaders like myself, we were left in the dark.

KING: Let me ask you. You are an attorney. What physical evidence would you like to see? What is missing for you?

CRUMP: Well, Noel, we're clear on the record. The family and our legal team are demanding that Kentucky General Daniel Cameron release the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings so we can see if anybody gave a voice for Breonna Taylor. And so we talk about transparency. With that transcript being released, we can see for ourselves, did he present the fact that the probable cause affidavit was a lie for which was the basis for the judge to sign this no-knock warrant that had the police at her apartment busting in her door in the first place? Did he present that evidence to the grand jury? Because if he didn't, he was making conscious decisions to deny Breonna Taylor justice.

KING: Attorney General Cameron has said that releasing this information would compromise an ongoing federal investigation. Do you have any expectation of what would come of - what may come of an FBI investigation?

CRUMP: Well, I hope there's - since it seems apparent that he didn't release - didn't notify the grand jury about several key factors, like the fact that the lieutenant lied on the probable cause affidavit to get the search warrant for Breonna's apartment anyway, he literally neglected to give the information, so the FBI can look at that as a civil rights violation against Breonna. And she could finally get the justice she deserves because this legacy in America is that our society, as well as the courts of law, disrespect Black women. And we can never let them forget that Black women lives matter, too.

KING: Benjamin Crump is a civil rights lawyer and represents the family of Breonna Taylor. Thank you, sir, for taking the time. We really appreciate it.

CRUMP: Thank you. God bless you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.