Louisville Police Ordered To Release Radio Communication Around Raid That Resulted In Breonna Taylor's Killing
The attorney general continues his refusal to provide a timeline for the investigation.
July 30, 2020 at 5:51 pm
Update (August 7, 2020): Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron acknowledged Thursday that his office needs more time to receive critical ballistics reports before he could conclude its investigation into the death of 26-year-old EMS worker Breonna Taylor.
According to USA Today, Cameron said “an integral part of this investigation” is the evaluation of the ballistics tests currently in the FBI’s possession. Cameron’s office says it is waiting for those reports to be sent.
Cameron said Robert Brown, the special agent in charge of the FBI Field Office in Louisville, is working with his team to ensure the information gets released promptly, but the attorney general refused to commit to a timeline for when that would happen, USA Today reports.
Without video evidence of the shooting, the ballistics details — as well as interviews of neighbors and witnesses — are important to reaching an accurate understanding of what unfolded that night, Cameron said.
"And so what I hope people have seen through this investigation is that we won’t be swayed by any particular opinion," he said. "We have endeavored, with a team of career prosecutors and investigators, to make sure that no stone is left unturned in this investigation."
After Cameron was named special prosecutor in the investigation on May 13, pundits and community members have been critical of his handling of Taylor’s case. As Blavity previously reported, Cameron was blasted on social media after he posted that he helped a football association get its players back on the field following the coronavirus outbreak.
"We don’t care about football. We care about arresting the cops who kiIIed Breonna Taylor," one person tweeted.
We don’t care about football. We care about arresting the cops who kiIIed Breonna Taylor— taylorbold (@TaylorBold) June 20, 2020
Additionally, Cameron filed a motion against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s edict requiring people to wear masks inside public places statewide. He said he was arguing the decision not because he thinks people shouldn't wear masks in public, but because he wants the order to "follow state law.”
Cameron and Beshear spent weeks disputing the executive order before the governor announced at a press conference on July 10 that the order would go into effect at 5 p.m. that day.
Beshear has raised concerns regarding the length of the investigation into Taylor's death and asked that the process be explained to the public.
"It has taken too long," Beshear said. "Took too long on the investigation side. It seems to be taking a long time on the evaluation side, and I say that without having seen any of the case file.”
During an appearance on MSNBC, the governor asked for a new special prosecutor to lead the investigation and replace Cameron.
"I think a special prosecutor could make sense here," he said. "I'm not sure exactly where the attorney general is on the evaluation of it but if there are those that think a special prosecutor would provide a more balanced approach then that could be a direction the AG could take."
Original (July 30, 2020): A judge has ordered the city of Louisville to release radio tapes of police communication related to the March 13 killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.
WDRB reports that on Wednesday — in front of Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman — the family's attorney Sam Aguiar said there was confusion about which officers took part in the raid that led to the essential worker's death. He believes the recordings can help uncover the truth.
"We've identified a few officers that were at least supposed to be on scene that always wear body cameras," he said in court.
Aguiar stated in court filings that some of the officers who were supposed to be present during the raid were not confirmed by city authorities. The city rebutted Aguiar’s request as too broad and likened it to a “fishing expedition."
In the end, the judge sided with Aguiar and ruled city officials must hand over all secure police radio conversations recorded between four hours before the raid and 3 p.m. the following day.
Three officers have been identified in relation to the raid: Sgt. Jon Mattingly and Detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison. Hankison was fired June 23 for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 shots during the incident, Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in his termination letter.
WDRB reports the city has agreed to release the recordings within the next week.
Despite Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker stating he believed the apartment was being broken into during the raid, police have maintained they announced their presence. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots but denied hearing any formal police announcement.
As protests against police brutality persist around the country, celebrities like NBA star LeBron James are remaining firm in their fight to bring Taylor’s killers to justice. During his media availability following a game against the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month, James used his time to say, emphatically, “we want the cops arrested,” as Blavity previously reported.
"First of all, I want to continue to shed light on justice for Breonna Taylor and to her family and everything that's going on with that situation. We want the cops arrested who committed that crime," James told reporters on July 23.
Hankison remains the only officer terminated, and investigations into the case are ongoing.