Breonna Taylor death: Louisville police documents shine light into investigation details
Thousands of newly released Louisville police files shed new light on the internal investigation conducted following the fatal police-involved shooting of Breonna Taylor and show contacts between the young woman and a man she dated previously who was suspected of drug dealing.
The Louisville Metro Police Department on Wednesday released extensive testimony and other evidence, which includes conflicting information about when the contacts ended between Taylor and her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
In a recorded jailhouse conversation on the day she died, Glover said he and Taylor had not “been around each other in over two months.”
“I ain’t got nothing going on with Bre no more,” he told a woman whose name was redacted from the report.
But other evidence suggests Taylor and Glover were together in the same vehicle a month before her March 13 death. According to the evidence, a pole camera showed Glover driving a car registered to Taylor on Feb. 13. He pulled up in front of a residence and went inside. A few minutes later, Taylor got out of the passenger side of the car, looked around for a few seconds, and then got back in the vehicle. Glover soon left the home, got back in the car, and drove off.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency medical worker, lived with her sister in an apartment in Louisville. She and her then-boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in her bedroom on the night of March 13 when police came to her door with a narcotics warrant.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican and the state’s first Black attorney general, previously said Louisville Metro Police Sgt. John Mattingly entered Taylor’s home after the door had been broken in. Walker then allegedly shot him in the leg, later explaining that he thought an intruder was breaking in, according to reports.
Mattingly, Detective Brett Hankison and Detective Myles Cosgrove then returned fire; Taylor was shot six times, Cameron said.
For months, the raid had been characterized in reports and by officials as the execution of a “no-knock warrant,” meaning law enforcement officers enter without knocking or announcing themselves. But Cameron later clarified that officers did knock because of the sensitive nature of the investigation before breaking down the door, according to a neighbor in the building.
Taylor’s name came up in the drug case at least in part because she had posted bail a few times from 2017 to January 2020 for Glover and another defendant, Darreal Forest, in amounts that went as high as $5,000, according to police files released Wednesday.
Wednesday’s document dump also included photographs purportedly showing Walker and Taylor holding what appear to be firearms.
The documents identify a person named “Breezy” — a nickname Taylor reportedly went by among loved ones — as sending Walker a photograph of herself “with an AR-15 strapped across her chest,” police said. Any further context behind the photos was unclear.
The files included hundreds of papers of investigative letters, interview transcripts, officers’ body camera videos, audio and video files of interviews, crime scene unit reports and search warrants.
Some items were redacted, blurred or withheld for privacy or legal reasons. Photos and videos of Taylor were “blurred out of respect,” police said. Audio of personal conversations that officers had while their body cameras were activated was redacted. Those conversations “had nothing to do with the scene or case,” police said.
Details of the chaos and confusion during the raid that resulted in Taylor’s death were revealed in hours of audio recordings recently released by Cameron’s office. They contained testimony and recorded interviews presented last month to the Kentucky grand jury that decided not to charge any Louisville police officers in Taylor’s killing.
The recordings released to the public did not contain prosecutors’ recommendations about what, if any, charges the grand jury should file against the officers who conducted the drug raid that led to Taylor’s fatal shooting.
The grand jury ultimately decided to indict Hankison but not Mattingly or Cosgrove on wanton endangerment charges for allegedly firing bullets into the neighboring apartment with three people inside. He has since pleaded not guilty.
None of the officers were indicted on charges directly related to Taylor’s death. Cameron, who presented the evidence to the jury, later admitted he did not recommend murder charges.
Late Wednesday, Cameron filed a motion in a local court asking it to dismiss a request by an anonymous grand juror to speak publicly about the panel’s deliberations in the Taylor case. Cameron issued a statement expressing “concerns with a grand juror seeking to make anonymous and unlimited disclosures about the grand jury proceedings,” which he called secretive by firm legal precedent in order to protect the safety of all involved.
Also on Wednesday, Taylor’s killing figured into a sharp campaign debate exchange between President Donald Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, and Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat nominee Joe Biden’s running mate. Harris condemned the killings of Taylor, and also George Floyd in Minnesota, and spoke about protests against racial injustice in policing that followed, which Trump has portrayed as “riots” as he called for law and order.
“We are never going to condone violence but we must always fight for the values that we hold dear,” Harris said in the nationally televised debate. She said she did not believe justice was done in the Taylor case. And she said a Biden-Harris administration would ban police chokeholds, declaring Floyd would be alive today if there were such a ban.
Pence said his heart breaks for Taylor’s family but he trusts in the U.S. justice system. He called it “remarkable” that Harris, as a former attorney general and prosecutor, would question the grand jury’s decision in the case not to charge an officer in that killing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.