LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (WLKY) — A new lawsuit claims the Louisville Metro Police Department is not only withholding possible body-camera footage from the raid at Breonna Taylor’s home, but also records that would prove their existence, which police have refuted for months.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Sam Aguiar, one of the attorneys who has been working with Taylor’s family since last year’s raid in west Louisville.
Aguiar claims in the lawsuit that more body-camera footage may exist from the night Taylor was killed. The lawsuit goes on to claim that several officers involved in the raid were issued a type of body camera that would have come on automatically.
The lawsuit also claims that the police department has not complied with an open records request by attorneys for the information that would show this footage exists.
“Simply put, it would have been difficult for most of the LMPD members with body cameras and who were associated with (Criminal Interdiction Division) events at Breonna’s and/or Elliott Ave. on March 12/13, 2020 to not have had their Axon body cameras activated at one point or another,” Aguiar writes in the lawsuit.
Aguiar adds that he believes officers who left their body cameras in vehicles or other locations would have also had the devices activated “to an event mode from a buffering mode, so long as the camera was within range of a signal unit.”
Aguiar is calling on a judge to order the LMPD to turn over the requested information under the state’s open records law.
The Taylor family attorney argues that if the LMPD was able to verify that certain officers’ body cameras were specifically assigned to the March raid, he believes there is “reasonable basis to believe that misinformation has been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras by several members of the LMPD CID unit.”
It’s not the first time Aguiar has made such claims, taking to social media in January to explain why he believes there is more body-camera footage. Since the March 13 raid that ended in the deadly shooting of Taylor, police have maintained that no footage exists from the actual raid at the apartment.
Photos from the scene show that Officer Anthony James had a body camera, but it could not be determined whether it was activated. Police have said that Sgt. John Mattingly and former detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, did not have body cameras.
In January, Aguiar and the other attorneys working on Taylor’s case subpoenaed the videos from the raid on Elliott Avenue in June, months before Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a decision in the investigation. He said he was told 18 body camera videos didn’t exist until the LMPD confirmed that investigators had located them.
The LMPD told Aguiar in a response that the videos were recorded at the separate raid the night Taylor was killed at her home in March. At the time, officials said there were no plans to release the videos because investigators feared they could jeopardize the investigation.
According to the response, the videos are not from the raid at Taylor’s home, but from an Elliott Avenue address, likely the home of Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend who was a central figure in a drug investigation by the LMPD.
Former LMPD Detective Joshua Jaynes, who was part of LMPD’s Place-Based Investigations Unit, was working on the drug case involving Glover, listing his home as a drug house. Jaynes told investigators he believed there were packages related to drug dealing being sent to Taylor’s apartment for Glover.
Jaynes was fired for his role in the investigation.
Taylor was killed on March 13 at her apartment. LMPD officers were serving a warrant connected to the larger drug investigation. They had been approved for a no-knock warrant, but both parties agree knocking took place. However, whether they announced themselves is still up for debate.
Police used a battering ram to enter the apartment and were fired upon by her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Three officers returned fire: Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison. Mattingly, the first to enter, was shot once in the leg.
Taylor was shot five times and died in the hallway.
LMPD officials have not issued a statement on the lawsuit.
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