Breonna Taylor’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department, alleging that the department is withholding records and body camera footage of the night officers shot and killed the 26-year-old in 2020.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit was filed Wednesday and claims Louisville police may have provided the public “misinformation” on the existence of body camera footage from her March 13, 2020 death. That evening, three plainclothes officers fired 32 shots into Taylor’s apartment and struck her multiple times while attempting to execute a “no-knock” search warrant to find drugs police said her ex-boyfriend had sent there. They did not find any drugs.
Louisville police officials have previously said that there is no body camera footage of the shooting itself because three officers who raided Taylor’s home–Brett Hankinson, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove–were not wearing them.
ABC News reports:
According to the lawsuit, several officers involved in the raid had been issued Axon body cameras with upgraded systems designed to signal nearby cameras to record automatically when a police vehicle’s light bar turns on. “Most of the vehicles” at the scene had light bars activated, the suit states.
“At least one of the responding LMPD members” who was involved in the raid and “dozens of other LMPD members” who responded in police vehicles had light bars that were activated at one point or another, the suit adds.
“Simply put, it would have been difficult for most of the LMPD members with body cameras ... to not have had their Axon body cameras activated at one point or another” during the raid, the lawsuit states. “Even those who may have left cameras in vehicles or other locations should have been activated to an event mode from a buffering mode, so long as the camera was within range of Signal unit.”
The lawsuit requests that a judge order LMPD to release whatever body camera footage exists under Kentucky’s Open Records Act, according to ABC News. It also claims that police have yet to provide an audit trail of body camera footage that the Taylor family attorney requested in June, which would help prove if the department was being honest about the lack of footage.
More from ABC News:
“Breonna’s family has a right to the records,” Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar told ABC News in a statement. “The public has a right to the records.”
“I’m just tired of the administration playing their games when it comes to open records,” Aguiar continued in the statement. “No mother who lost a child should have to be lied to and deceived in the manner that this administration has done.”
“So we’re going to rely upon the Court system here to try and put these games to rest,” he added.
If it turns out that the LMPD did in fact withhold records of Taylor’s shooting from the public, it would be far from the first time that a police department has worked to cover up details of an investigation to protect the interests of officers.
It would also be interesting to see what happens with the three officers involved with the shooting if the footage does exist.
So far, only Hankinson has been charged in relation to the incident, but for wanton endangerment due to striking neighboring houses with his gunfire. None of the officers have been charged specifically for Taylor’s death.