Breonna Taylor's family sues Louisville police over body cam footage

Breonna Taylor's family sues Louisville police over body cam footage
© Banneker-Douglass Museum/ Future History Now

An attorney representing Breonna Taylor’s family is suing the Louisville Metro Police Department over allegations that authorities lied when claiming there was no body camera footage from the night police raided the 26-year-old’s apartment and fatally shot her. 

In the suit, filed Wednesday in Jefferson County court, attorney Sam Aguiar argued that Taylor’s family believes "misinformation has been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras" on March 13, 2020, when police executed a no-knock warrant on Taylor’s apartment as part of a drug investigation. 

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on police, later saying he believed the officers were intruders. Police fired back, hitting Taylor multiple times. 

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The three officers involved in the incident have not been charged in connection with Taylor’s death, though Brett Hankison was fired by the department in June 2020 and was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that went into a nearby apartment. 

Police have previously said that body camera footage from the incident does not exist, explaining that some officers within the department that executed the warrant do not wear body cameras and that any cameras that were worn may have not been activated at the time. 

However, Aguiar argued in this week’s lawsuit that one of the officers, Myles Cosgrove, was photographed wearing a body camera harness the evening the shooting took place, though he has said it contained no camera at the time. 

Additionally, the attorney argued that the cameras used by department officers, known as Axon Flex 2 cameras, are designed to activate when the lightbars of a police vehicle illuminate. 

Aguiar said in the court filing that several police cars at Taylor’s apartment that evening had their lightbars on at the time of the raid. 

"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,” he argued. 

Aguiar explained that the police department has not fulfilled requests for information on body camera footage. 

"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," he wrote, calling on a judge to demand that Louisville police respond to his inquiry. 

The Louisville police department declined to comment to The Hill, explaining it does not discuss pending litigation.

In September, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family, the largest the city has ever paid in a police misconduct case. 

The settlement also included specific promises for police reforms, including guidance on carrying out no-knock warrants.