Police, who were issuing a search warrant against Breonna Taylor’s house, told investigators they knocked on her door and reported for 30 to 90 seconds before breaking in during a holdup in which officers fatally shot them. The audio recordings were released on Friday.
The police officers’ newly uncovered details contrast with previous witness accounts and their portrayal has been a point of contention in the case, which has attracted national attention and sparked street protests against racism and the use of force by the police.
Kentucky’s attorney general released audio recordings on Friday of the grand jury proceedings in which three police officers were cleared of murder charges in Taylor’s death, and gave a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a grand jury that is normally kept secret.
The grand jury last week released the two white officers who shot Taylor and charged a third with wanton exposure to stray bullets that struck a neighboring apartment in the March 13 raid.
Street protesters called for the officers to be arrested and sought justice for Taylor, a 26-year-old black paramedic whose family won a $ 12 million settlement from the city of Louisville for unjustified death.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was with her, has said he believes the plainclothes officers who broke in may have been Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. He fired once and wounded an officer. The police then fired 32 shots, six of which hit Taylor.
Hours later, and in a voice that burst with emotion, the records showed Walker telling police he and Taylor were “scared to death” when they knocked on the door, and Taylor yelled, “Who’s this?” wholeheartedly but with no answer.
The three day record shows that the police were puzzled by the outbreak of their own gunfire. One officer said he only realized afterwards that he had fired his weapon, while another, who mistakenly opened fire, feared his colleagues would be shot by an AR-15.
The records also show that large jurors were preoccupied with the investigators who presented the case, asking them questions about why the police weren’t wearing body cameras and whether the police in the raid knew that other officers were the central suspect in the investigation, Taylor’s , had already tracked down ex-boyfriend.
Noticeably absent were records of prosecution recommendations showing how the prosecution guided the thinking of the 12-member panel.
“The jury’s deliberations, as well as the prosecution’s recommendations and statements, have not been recorded because they are not evidence,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special attorney on the case, said in a statement.
In a police interview on March 25 played in front of the grand jury last week, the wounded officer, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, said the police knocked on Taylor’s door six or seven times, repeatedly announcing that they were police there for one To serve search warrant.
“It probably took anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute and knocked on the door,” Mattingly said before police broke in.
Detective Myles Cosgrove said in his interview with police investigators that the officers knocked on the door for about 90 seconds.
Detective Brett Hankison, the officer charged with willful endangerment, estimated that 30 to 45 seconds of “slaps and announcements, knocks and announcements” had elapsed.
Several witnesses told reporters they did not hear a police announcement, and Cameron admitted that the only witness who verified the police report on their announcement changed his story.
The witness first told investigators in March that he had not heard police identify himself, but two months later, in a follow-up interview, the witness said he heard officials knocking and announcing, according to an investigator who appeared before the grand Jury testified.
Cosgrove, who fired 16 shots, described the experience as disoriented, with bright muzzle flashes breaking the darkness when he learned that Mattingly had been shot.
He said he didn’t notice until after he started firing his gun. “It’s like a surreal thing,” said Cosgrove.
When the shooting started, Hankison said he shot into the apartment from the outside and saw more lightning bolts in the room. He mistakenly thought that Walker or Taylor had an AR-15 or other long gun in hand.
“I thought you were about to be executed,” said Hankison, who shot ten times, of his colleagues.
Walker’s single round came from a 9mm pistol that he was allowed to carry. Taylor was unarmed.
Taylor’s family and Walker’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Following the exchange of fire, Walker said he fell to the ground in fear when he saw that Taylor had been shot.
“She’s bleeding right there on the floor,” he said before collapsing from emotion.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)