Breonna Taylor death: Bodycam footage of cops asking about bullet casings at scene casts doubts on investigation
Body camera footage from Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers and SWAT team members is now showing quite a perplexing picture of the immediate aftermath of the police raid in which 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was killed. The video had not been made public in the past and was captured by 45 different body cameras and was included as part of the investigative file compiled by the LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit and shared with the Kentucky attorney general’s office, reports Vice.
According to this new report, the police officers apparently violated department policies and cast doubt on the integrity of the crime scene and the investigation, including officers, discussing the amount of shell casings on the floor on the ground - with Officer Brett Hankison asking if the bullets are "theirs" (SWAT team).
Breonna was fatally shot during a botched up police raid while she was inside her Louisville apartment on March 13. The video footage was obtained by Vice and shows the aftermath of the shooting in her apartment. Sgt Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Officer Hankison had entered Breonna's home at around 12.40 am and executed a 'no knock' warrant in a drug probe.
At the time of the incident, Breonna and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker had reportedly been sleeping and were awakened when the officers burst into the home. It is said that Walker immediately grabbed his gun which he legally owned and started to fire at the officers. As a result, he struck Sgt Mattingly in the leg. Around three officers opened fire in self-defense with Breonna being caught in the crossfire, getting struck at least six times. She died at the scene of the shooting.
As per Vice, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department had 'insisted' that no body camera footage exists of the actual raid itself. However, they were able to obtain footage by other officers and SWAT team members who had been responding to the shooting.
In the video footage, the officers are heard discussing the number of shell casings that are on the floor on the ground as officer Hankison is heard asking whether the bullets are 'theirs'. The SWAT officer who is securing the scene is heard asking Hankison to leave until the Public Integrity Unit arrives at the scene. The Public Integrity Unit is responsible for investigating police shootings. In the video, Hankison is also heard asking the SWAT officers whether they had found a long gun and if someone had been found dead inside.
In another clip, the cop is seen approaching another SWAT officer and asks him whether his body camera is on before the video gets cut. It is reported that officer Hankison had fired his gun at least ten times during the raid. Another video shows an officer threatening to release a barking narcotics dog on Walker.
Walker is told, "walk straight back or I will send this dog on you." Breonna's death sparked outrage across the United States after many incidents of Black people being killed by the police. A former LMPD narcotics officer spoke to VICE News and said, "I’ve never seen anything like this." The officer asked to stay anonymous for fear of retribution.
The officer also said that it is the responsibility of the commanders on the scene to make sure that all officers involved in the shooting are taken aside. "This is not how it’s supposed to work," the officer said.
Multiple SWAT team members seen in the body camera footage seem to be visibly uncomfortable and disturbed by Hankison's presence and questions. One of them is heard telling Hankison that he needs to clear out and move away from the crime scene.
SWAT officer Sgt. Brandon Hogan tells Hankison, "I’d back out until they get PIU in here." Later on Hogan says, "This is a crime scene."