The case of Breonna Taylor—the 26-year-old EMT who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers during the execution of a “no-knock” search warrant at the wrong home—has recently been receiving the attention it deserves after nearly two months of slow media coverage. Now, the mayor is instituting a new policy requiring all officers to wear body cameras as well as a policy change regarding search warrants.
Amid conflicting accounts by police officers, neighbors and Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker—who is charged with attempted murder after initiating the firefight with police—one question has been asked repeatedly: Why weren’t the officers wearing body-cams?
Walker, who is a licensed gun owner, said the officers forced their way into Taylor’s apartment without knocking and without identifying themselves as police, which is why he fired at them in an attempt to protect Taylor and himself. The officers, who were in plainclothes, said they did announce themselves as police after knocking several times. This is one of several details where the truth could have been made clear if there was video evidence.
The officers were members of the department’s Criminal Interdiction Division, a unit where police are not required to wear body-cams—but that is about to change.
According to the Associated Press, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday that all officers, including those in plainclothes units, will be required to wear body-cams. Fischer also said that officers will now be required to have the chief of police sign off on all “no-knock” search warrants before they are sent to a judge for approval.
“This is a step, but we know there needs to be more conversation on the use of these warrants,” Fischer said in a virtual news conference.
A larger conversation is indeed necessary because despite the officers’ claims that they knocked and identified themselves as police before entering Taylor’s apartment, the type of search warrant they were serving doesn’t require them to do either of those things. Furthermore, it’s unlikely the new requirement that the chief of police approve search warrants will comfort Taylor’s family since the lawsuit they filed against the city calls for Police Chief Steve Conrad to be fired. Family attorney Sam Aguiar told AP that “the department under Chief Conrad continues to harm and kill innocent members of the community at an alarming rate.”