Beshear condemns violence in Louisville, doubles down on call for release of evidence

Gov. Andy Beshear holds Thursday press briefing

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear issued a strong statement Thursday condemning acts of violence in Louisville that followed a Kentucky grand jury declining Wednesday to charge any of three Louisville Metro police officers with Taylor’s death.

Two LMPD officers were shot Wednesday night during the demonstrations in downtown Louisville. The officers were responding after a large crowd had set fires, damaged property and failed to disperse after being warned, according to FOX19 NOW’s sister station in Louisville, WAVE3 News.

A 26-year-old man has since been charged in connection with the shootings.

Beshear updated the conditions of the officers Thursday, saying Major Aubrey Gregory had been released from the hospital and Officer Robinson Desroches was in stable condition and recovering. He noted he was able to speak directly with Gregory and also with Desroches’s mother.

“I want to condemn this act of violence in the most stark terms,” Beshear said. “It is absolutely wrong. The answer to violence can never be violence.”

The governor reiterated his message of Wednesday afternoon, that his main priority is to ensure the safety and nonviolence of the demonstrations.

“We have to understand that one person can mar something that is otherwise done the right way,” he said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had this to say on Wednesday’s shootings:

“Violence will only be a source of pain, not a cure for pain. Many see Breonna Taylor’s case as both the tragic death of a young woman and the continuation of a long pattern of devaluation and violence that Black women and men face in our country, as they have historically."

The violence comes after Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday two LMPD officers who fired their weapons at Taylor during a raid on her residence were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend. The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired LMPD Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a residence next to Taylor’s with people inside.

The officers had a no-knock warrant, but the investigation showed they announced themselves before entering, Cameron said. The warrant came as part of a narcotics investigation and was connected to a suspect who did not live there. No drugs were found inside Taylor’s residence.

On Wednesday Beshear called on Cameron to release evidence from the investigation, including ballistics reports and witness statements, so the public might better understand the grand jury’s decision. He said the all evidence that would not impact the felony counts against Hankinson should be released online.

The call came after Cameron acknowledged inconsistencies uncovered by the investigation, such as disagreement between the FBI and the Kentucky State Police lab over which of the three officers fired the shot that killed Taylor.

The FBI ballistics report was a key part of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s investigation. Cameron pointed out Wednesday in his grand jury announcement that the FBI may focus in part on LMPD Det. Joshua Jaynes, who wrote the affidavit to get the search warrant that led to the raid on Taylor’s residence, according to WAVE3 News. The FBI is trying to find out if federal civil rights were violated, in particular a citizen’s right to deny unreasonable search and seizure.

“Everyone can and should be informed, and those that are currently feeling frustration and feeling hurt, they deserve to know more,” the governor said Wednesday. “I trust Kentuckians. They deserve to see the facts for themselves.”

Cameron’s office released a response to that request saying releasing the information would compromise an ongoing federal investigation and violate a prosecutor’s ethical duties.

On Thursday, while acknowledging he had not not seen the investigation file for himself, Beshear, a former Ky. attorney general, replied he does not believe releasing the evidence would constitute an ethical violation because Cameron is pursuing no further charges and there is no jury left to compromise.

“Let’s just put it out there and let people see it,” the governor said referring to the evidence.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.