The family of Breonna Taylor filed a lawsuit alleging that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) has been providing “misinformation” to the public concerning the footage from officer-worn body cameras on the night police fatally shot Taylor in her Kentucky home, according to the filing and local reports.
The lawsuit, filed in the Jefferson Circuit Court on Wednesday, claims that the officers that breached Taylor’s door had been issued body cameras that would turn on automatically during such a raid. The complaint further states that the police department has refused to comply with an open records request that would allegedly prove it was withholding the additional footage from those cameras as well as the records that would prove such footage exists.
According to attorney Sam Aguiar—who previously helped the family reach a $12 million wrongful death settlement with the city of Louisville—the officers were wearing Axon Flex 2 cameras that auto-activate when the emergency lights on an officer’s vehicle are engaged. The lawsuit says that at least one of the officers involved in the raid on Taylor’s home and “dozens” of other officers who responded during the aftermath were wearing body cameras.
Police have denied that any additional body camera footage exists, claiming that Officer Anthony James did not turn his camera on and that the other officers were not wearing their cameras when they entered Taylor’s home. Local news outlet WDRB noted that former Officer Myles Cosgove was photographed that night wearing mounting bracket for a body camera without the actual camera being attached.
“Simply put, it would have been difficult for most of the LMPD members with body cameras and who were associated with (Criminal Interdiction Division) events at Breonna’s and/or Elliott Ave. on March 12/13, 2020 to not have had their Axon body cameras activated at one point or another,” Aguiar wrote in the lawsuit.
“Given that Metro was able to verify that certain LMPD members’ body cameras were specifically assigned on March 13, 2020, there is a reasonable basis to believe that misinformation has been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras,” the lawsuit states.
Cosgrove and former Joshua James—the detective who sought the search warrant for a no-knock raid on Taylor’s apartment—were both fired after the raid that left the 26-year-old Black girl dead. Local news outlet KVIA reported that James was wearing a body camera.
The suit also states that former Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg during the raid, claimed under oath that he was never issued a body camera. However, Aguiar claims that records provided by LMPD show that he was assigned a camera in advance of the Taylor raid.
Aguiar filed an open record request in June seeking LMPD’s body camera audit trail logs for the month Taylor was killed.
“Assuming that body cameras were docked following Breonna’s killing, and that there was no tampering of the devices or associated storage prior to the docking, audit trails should assist in verifying whether Metro has been truthful to the public regarding the existence of footage,” the lawsuit states.
“It is critical to know whether local government is being honest with the community regarding issuance and usage of body cameras,” it states.
In a statement to CNN, Aguiar said Taylor’ family “has a right to the records,” adding that he was “tired of the administration playing their games when it comes to open records.”
Read the lawsuit below:
[image via Benjamin Crump]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]