Under extreme national pressure, Louisville Police finally released a bare-bones incident report on the raid which killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, a Kentucky EMT, was fatally shot in her bed by officers of the Louisville Metro Police during the execution of a “no-knock” warrant — the primary target of which was already in custody. According to a lawsuit filed in response, “officers [entered] Breonna’s home without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers.”
Detective Brett Hankison, Detective Myles Cosgrove, and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly are accused of firing a full 20 rounds of ammunition into the home in the early-morning hours of March 13. Hankison also faces allegations of sexually assaulting drunk women after offering them rides home from local bars.
“Shots were blindly fired by the officers all throughout Breonna’s home and also into the adjacent home, where a five-year-old child and a pregnant mother had been sleeping,” the lawsuit continued. Kentucky representative and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the killing, saying the officers looked “pretty darn guilty.” Further:
These events, which, the facts surrounding them are pretty obvious, are absolutely horrendous, and you can understand the outrage in reaction to witnessing events like this. They need to be thoroughly investigated. And if prosecution is appropriate, and it sure sounds — looking at both these cases, like that would be the case. Justice needs to be done.
Now, amid the national racial justice and police brutality demonstrations that have ignited the country, Louisville has finally released the incident report regarding her death — which barely contains any information and almost entirely redacts what it does contain.
In fact, even widely reported information, such as Taylor’s address and date of birth, has been blacked out. Worse, her injuries, after being shot eight times in her bed, are listed as “none.” And despite the fact that officers reportedly bashed her door down with a battering ram, “no” has been checked under “forced entry.”
“I read this report and have to ask the mayor, the police chief, and the city’s lawyers: Are you kidding? This is what you consider being transparent to taxpayers and the public?” asked Courier Journal editor Richard A. Green. “At a time when so many are rightfully demanding to know more details about that tragic March evening, I fail to understand this lack of transparency. The public deserves more.”
The police department also appeared to find the document unsatisfactory. “Inaccuracies in the report are unacceptable to us,” it said in a statement, “and we are taking immediate steps to correct the report and to ensure the accuracy of incident reports going forward.” But Mayor Greg Fischer is pushing back harder, calling the report “unacceptable.”
“Full stop. It’s issues like this that erode public confidence in LMPD’s ability to do its job, and that’s why I’ve ordered an external top-to-bottom review of the department,” he said. “I am sorry for the additional pain to the Taylor family and our community.”
Taylor’s case has taken on extra resonance as the nation also reels from the alleged murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and other black Americans — and protests for their sakes have turned violent in multiple cities.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is taking action to end the kind of “no-knock” warrants that led to Taylor’s death. “After talking with Breonna Taylor’s family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s long past time to get rid of no-knock warrants,” Paul said Thursday as he introduced his new bill, the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act. “This bill will effectively end no-knock raids in the United States,” he continued.