Who is Aarin Sarpee? Sole witness in Breonna Taylor case changed his story, Internet slams 'rotten system'

The key witness had initially said 'nobody identified themselves' during the raid while months later he said he heard police saying 'this is the cops'

                            Who is Aarin Sarpee? Sole witness in Breonna Taylor case changed his story, Internet slams 'rotten system'
(Getty Images)

On September 23, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made the major announcement in Breonna Taylor’s killing that the cops who fatally shot her would not be charged with her killing. In that justification, Daniel Cameron mentioned that one witness corroborated the three officers’ instance that they knocked and identified themselves as police at Taylor’s Louisville home. This point maintained by the eyewitness has been changed as reported by Vice News.

As per documents and audio obtained by Vice News on Saturday, September 26, that sole witness Aarin Sarpee told investigators days after the March 13 raid that he didn’t hear officers Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove announce themselves as cops. The witness, Sarpee, was picking up his daughter from above Breonna Taylor’s apartment when the raid took place.

Sarpee’s March 21 statements reveal that he said the cops did not identify themselves as police, as reported by Vice. However, when a PIU investigator, Sgt. Amanda Seeyle, called Sarpee back two months later, on May 15, then Sarpee said he did hear police say, “This is the cops,” as reported by Vice. A Vice News correspondent Roberto Ferdmna broke the news of two different stands of the eye witness in his September 27 tweet.


After Sarpee’s change in the stand has been highlighted in the findings by Vice News, this has led the social media into a frenzy with many doubting the probe and findings. A user wrote: “Someone needs to ask some serious questions. Is he saying they announced BEFORE they rammed the door while executing a NO-KNOCK warrant? If they presented that who told the grand jury how a no-knock warrant normally works? You don't knock or announce so something is wrong.”


A user said, "So, the cops must have paid or coerced [because they have something on him] #AarinSarpee to change his story. What a rotten & stinking system. #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor". Another user posted, “The three officers claim they knocked and announced, even though they had a no-knock warrant (that we also now know was issued on false information). However, other than the three officers themselves, the only person who said they 'announced' was this witness who changed story.” One user wrote, “This whole investigation is suspect! Only Witness Who Heard Police Announce Themselves at Breonna Taylor’s Door Changed His Story - VICE.” 





Who is Aarin Sarpee?

Aarin Sarpee is the only prime witness in the dreadful raid that claimed Breonna Taylor's life. Though not much is known about Aaron Sarpee, The New York Times mentions him as a truck driver. As per the site, on the night of the shooting, Sarpee was coming off his shift when he heard the officers shouting. Aarin Sarpee had left his two-year-old in the care of the woman living directly above now dead victim, Breonna Taylor’s home. Before the police lined up, Sarpee had run upstairs and picked up his sleeping toddler. He saw officers when he stepped out onto the exterior staircase, of that home, as reported by The New York Times.

Vice reported that the witness, Aarin Sarpee, got into an argument with Detective Brett Hankison as the officers were banging on Taylor’s door. The site did not mention the matter of argument though. 

Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, poses for a portrait in front of a mural of her daughter at Jefferson Square park on September 21, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Getty Images)

Later, many interviews were conducted by LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit (PIU), which investigates officer-involved shootings. As per PIU’s investigative file, LMPD investigators spoke to Sarpee on the phone twice in the months after shooting. On March 21, a week after the shooting, Sgt. Jason Vance asked Sarpee directly if he heard anyone identify themselves as police. At that time Sarpee responded, “No, nobody identified themselves,” as reported by Vice. The site further reports that when another PIU investigator, Sgt. Amanda Seeyle, called Sarpee back two months later, on May 15, Sarpee said he did hear police say, “This is the cops.” This made his stand contentious in the shooting case of Breonna Taylor. Vice adds that the summary of LMPD’s interactions with Sarpee also raises questions about how those conversations were documented and presented. 

In the latest development on Breonna Taylor’s shooting case, a grand jury indicted detective Brett Hankison, while Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove—the cop who fired the shot that killed Taylor—weren’t charged.

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