Breonna Taylor Family’s Lawyer Challenges Lack Of Body Camera Footage
The plain-clothes officers who killed Breonna Taylor while executing a search warrant at her home on March 13 had previously worn body cameras, a lawyer for the Taylor family claims.
In court documents filed on Tuesday, Louisville attorney Sam Aguiar alleges officers from Louisville Metro Police Department’s Criminal Interdiction Unit had been assigned body cameras, evidenced by footage from previous cases and by previous citations issued by the officers which identify the use of body cameras.
Aguiar’s allegations come in a motion asking Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman to order the officers to produce body camera footage from the night Taylor was killed, as well as other devices such as cell phones, computers or tablets. That day, now-former Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a press conference that he had “no body worn video cameras to share with you” from the shooting. He said the warrant was served by officers from the Criminal Interdiction Unit, and that “some of the officers assigned to this division do not wear body worn video systems.”
“As you’ve heard me say before, videos are only part of the investigation,” Conrad said. “Even without the videos, our Public Integrity Unit will conduct a complete investigation of this case.”
LMPD has not responded to a request for comment on the court filings.
“Since day one, LMPD has portrayed a narrative of the events which is inconsistent with that which has been identified by the Plaintiff throughout the course of the investigation,” the complaint reads. “Meanwhile, information on the officers’ devices, which is critical towards ascertaining the truth, has not been disclosed or produced. This information is necessary to identify the true facts leading up to Breonna’s death, as well as what took place shortly thereafter for the officers to cover up the truth.”
Taylor’s attorney makes several other claims regarding the availability of footage from the night Taylor was killed in the motion. Those allegations include:
- That officers were executing a related warrant and detained Jamarcus Glover at a separate address shortly before Taylor was killed. They were wearing body cameras but LMPD officer Kelly Hanna Goodlett advised them to turn the cameras off after the shooting at Taylor’s, Aguiar alleges.
- That more than 120 officers were sent to Taylor’s home, most of whom were dispatched after the shooting, and no body camera footage has been produced from any of these officers.
- That the apartment complex where Taylor lived has security cameras but LMPD has not produced footage from them, according to the attorney’s motion.
- That while the officers who executed the search warrant at Taylor’s home were in plain clothes, they were required to have a patrol officer on the scene who would have had a body camera. The motion says this officer has not been identified by LMPD.
“It seems awfully coincidental that the location where there was a fatal police shooting didn’t have body cams,” Aguiar told WDRB News. Aguiar also told WDRB that claims from former chief Conrad that members of the Criminal Interdiction Unit were not required to wear the cameras is “100 percent false.”
Mayor Greg Fischer has also said the officers were not wearing body cameras because they were undercover. Last month, he announced a policy change to expand use of body cameras. On Thursday, the Louisville Metro Council will vote on an ordinance to require all officers to wear and use body cameras when executing search warrants.
Brett Hankison, who has recently been accused of sexual assault by two women, was among those officers present during Taylor’s death who previously have worn body cameras, according to the attorney’s motion. The motion claims Hankison fired more than 20 shots that night, “the majority of which were fired blindly from outside the home through windows which were covered by shades and blinds.”
Three of Taylor’s neighbors — Chelsey Napper, Cody Etherton, and Zayden Flournoy — filed a lawsuit against LMPD on May 20 claiming the officers acted “with total disregard for the value of human life” when serving the warrant at Taylor’s. Napper, who was pregnant when the shooting occurred, says in the lawsuit that stray bullets hit her apartment’s living room, kitchen and hallway.