“Breonna’s family has a right to the records,” says attorney Sam Aguiar.
Attorney Sam Aguiar for Breonna Taylor’s family have filed a lawsuit directly against the Louisville Metro Police Department, alleging that several officers involved in the fatal raid may have lied about the existence of body camera footage.
In the complaint, Aguiar said that he has not received any data from the assigned body cameras worn by the police and no responses to his request either. He wants a judge to order the LMPD to release it.
Taylor’s story mirrors similar incidents that have happened (and continue to happen) across the U.S. The 26-year-old was fatally shot by police on March 13, 2020, after officers executed a no-knock warrant at her apartment as part of a narcotics investigation. Despite there being no drugs or weapons inside the home, officers opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a single shot toward the door believing it was an intruder.
Breonna Taylor’s death sparked nationwide protests and calls for action that still continue today.
Three officers—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove—were directly involved in Taylor’s death, according to police. Hankison was fired by the department in June of last year, and was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that went into a neighboring apartment.
He has pleaded not guilty and a trial is set for next year.
The LMPD said it had fired Cosgrove and another officer, Joshua Jaynes, but collectively, none of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor have been charged.
An attorney for Jaynes, who was accused of lying on the application seeking the warrant for the raid, said his client would appeal to a city board that reviews police terminations.
Aguiar wrote in the lawsuit that many Louisville officers “recorded their law enforcement activities on their body cameras.” It went on to say Cosgrove, Mattingly, Hankison and two other officers involved had body cameras assigned to them prior to the raid.
Cameras can either be activated manually or automatically activated when the light bars of a police vehicle are turned on. According to the filing, many of the police vehicles at Taylor’s home the night of the raid had their light bars on, including Cosgrove’s unmarked cruiser. “Simply put, it would have been difficult for most of the LMPD members with body cameras and who were associated with … events at Breonna’s … to not have had their Axon body cameras activated at one point or another,” it read.
“The plaintiffs, and the public, have an uncompromised right to know whether undisclosed body camera footage exists, or otherwise previously existed, from LMPD Axon Cameras which relates to the events surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor,” the lawsuit said.
Police have previously said that the shooting was not captured on video because some officers with the criminal interdiction division, which executed the warrant, do not wear body cameras. Cosgrove, however, was pictured wearing a body camera harness the night of the raid, but said there was no device in it.
The LMPD declined to comment on the Taylor family lawsuit, sharing via a spokesperson in a statement Friday, July 9, “Although we appreciate the opportunity, LMPD does not comment on pending litigation.