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Lawsuits & Litigation

Lawsuit: Louisville Police Probably Have Unreleased Body Cam Footage of Breonna Taylor Shooting

— July 9, 2021

The lawsuit suggests that there is almost certainly body camera footage of the incident, despite the police department’s claims to the contrary.

An attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department, claiming that several of the officers involved in the Black woman’s slaying had been assigned body cameras—despite the agency’s claims that there is no footage of the deadly, no-knock raid.

In the lawsuit, attorney Sam Aguiar claims to have already requested any relevant body camera footage from Louisville P.D.

However, the department has yet to send any, and Aguiar is now asking a judge to order the agency to release any video or audio recordings it may possess.

Taylor, as has reported before, was shot dead by police on March 13, 2020. She was targeted because her ex-boyfriend, a suspected narcotics dealer, had once tried to mail a package containing drugs to her apartment.

Nevertheless, Louisville decided to treat Taylor as a suspected accomplice. They executed a late-night, no-knock raid on Taylor’s apartment. Startled, Taylor’s partner—Kenneth Walker—retrieved a legally purchased and registered handgun. He fired one shot at the door, thinking the intruders were home invaders rather than law enforcement.

Baltimore Police Department vehicles. From via Public domain/free-to-use.

Police responded with a barrage of fire, killing Taylor and almost hitting a family in a neighboring unit.

While several of the officers involved in the shooting were disciplined, only one was fired—and none were ever charged in Taylor’s death.

To date, there is no known video or audio recording of the raid.

But Aguiar says that several of the officers involved in the operation had been assigned Axion body cameras—cameras which can be activated manually, or which automatically turn on when a police cruiser’s light bar is activated.

Since most of the cruisers outside Taylor’s apartment had their light bars on, Aguiar says it is difficult to believe none of the officers’ body cameras captured anything.

“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 Axion body cameras activated at one point or another,” Aguiar wrote.

“Even those who may have left cameras in vehicles or other locations should have been activated to an event mode from a buffering mode, so long as the camera was within range of a Signal unit,” the lawsuit adds. “Similarly, LMPD members with body cameras who responded to the hospital, the CID building or other locations while near a Signal unit should have had the device activated.”

The complaint further alleges that “misinformation had been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras.”

“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 states.

The Louisville Metro Police Department declined NBC News’s request for comment.

“Although we appreciate the opportunity, LMPD does not comment on pending litigation,” a department spokesperson said.


Lawsuit claims there almost has to be bodycam footage of Breonna Taylor raid

Lawsuit: LMPD may have lied about existence of body camera footage from night Breonna Taylor was killed

Lawsuit says police may have lied about Breonna Taylor body camera footage

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