FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s attorney general asked for patience Thursday as his office investigates the shooting death of a black woman by Louisville police and decides whether the police officers involved will face criminal charges.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron declined to publicly set a timetable for completing his investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor. Protesters in Louisville and across the country have demanded justice for Taylor and other African Americans killed by police in recent weeks.
Cameron, who is African American, is tasked with determining whether state charges will be brought against the three officers involved. They have been placed on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated amid a clamor for speedy results.
“I can assure you that we understand the urgency, we understand the public outcry and we understand the need for the truth and the desire for justice,” Cameron said at a news conference. He briefly expressed his condolences to Taylor’s family, saying he’s “heartbroken” by their loss.
A Republican elected last year, Cameron said his office is conducting a “thorough and fair” investigation but cautioned that an undertaking “of this magnitude, when done correctly, requires time and patience.”
Taylor, 26, who was studying to become a nurse, was shot eight times by officers who burst into her home while conducting a narcotics investigation on March 13. No drugs were found at her home.
The warrant to search Taylor’s home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there. Police used a “no-knock” search warrant, which allows them to enter without first announcing their presence. Louisville’s Metro Council recently voted to ban the use of no-knock warrants.
The release in late May of a 911 call by Taylor’s boyfriend marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, fueled by Taylor’s death and the death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis, George Floyd.
Cameron’s office was asked to serve as special prosecutor in the Taylor case. His office has been receiving materials from the Louisville police department’s public integrity unit, he said.
But the attorney general’s office is doing its own independent investigation of the case, he said.
“We believe that the independent steps we are taking are crucial for the findings to be accepted, both by the community and by those directly involved in the case,” he said.
Cameron declined to discuss specifics of the case but said: “I can assure you that at the end of our investigation we will do what is right. We will find the truth.”
The case has draw widespread attention amid the heightened scrutiny of police actions in encounters with black Americans.
Beyoncé recently joined the call for charges against the officers involved in Taylor’s shooting. The superstar said in a letter to Cameron that the three Louisville police officers “must be held accountable for their actions.”
Meanwhile, Louisville’s interim police chief said Thursday that the department’s officers will have a new duty to intervene when they see misconduct by fellow officers, according to media reports. Interim Chief Robert Schroeder called it “simply the right thing to do.”
“Recently, all of us in law enforcement were shocked when we saw a video of George Floyd being killed in Minneapolis, as other police officers stood by and did nothing,” Schroeder said. “That’s not who we are as police officers. None of us signed up for that. That is not how we behave.”