Ex-cop in Taylor raid seeks partial media ban ahead of trial

Attorneys for a former police officer involved in the Breonna Taylor raid want to ban news outlets from part of the jury selection process

Via AP news wire
Monday 24 January 2022 23:50
Breonna Taylor Officer Trial
Breonna Taylor Officer Trial

Attorneys for a former Kentucky police officer involved in the Breonna Taylor raid are seeking to ban news outlets from part of the jury selection process ahead of his criminal trial.

Former Louisville Metro Police Officer Brett Hankison is the only officer to be criminally charged for the March 2020 police raid in which the 26-year-old Taylor was fatally shot. Hankison was charged with three counts of endangerment for allegedly shooting into neighboring apartments during the raid.

Individual juror questioning — known as voir dire — is set to begin on Feb. 1 and is expected to take multiple weeks before a jury is finalized. The process can sometimes include sensitive questioning.

A motion filed on Friday by Hankison's defense asks Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith to bar news outlets from the courtroom during this process. They say jurors may fear that their identity could be publicly exposed.

In a response Monday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron whose office is prosecuting the case, opposed the ban request.

“The Commonwealth recognizes the competing interests between the right to an impartial jury and the right to public and media access,” Cameron wrote. “Here, the Commonwealth believes the balance favors access, even if the court decides to place some limitations on that access.”

The judge set a hearing for Wednesday to decide on the motion.

Hankison was fired, along with Officer Myles Cosgrove, who shot 16 times into Taylor’s apartment during the March 13, 2020, drug raid. A third officer, Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg by Taylor’s boyfriend, retired in June.

Defense attorneys in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case in Georgia last year also attempted to bar news outlets from the courtroom during part of the jury selection process. They later withdrew the request after several news organizations, including The Associated Press, argued against a closed courtroom.

Three men were convicted of murder last year in Arbery's death.

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