Attorneys representing the family of Breonna Taylor are accusing the Louisville Metro Police Department and Mayor Greg Fischer of engaging in unlawful efforts to cover up the truth behind the death of the 26-year-old emergency medical technician in March. Taylor was sleeping in her apartment when officers executed a controversial no-knock warrant, broke down the door and shot her eight times.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, went on to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved in the incident, but her attorneys are claiming that both the mayor and the police department are intentionally and unlawfully withholding public records that could shed light on the events that led to Taylor’s death.
“Since day one, Tamika Palmer’s main request to LMPD and Mayor Fischer has been constant: Tell Us the Truth,” attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker wrote in a press release on Tuesday. “For months, we have pursued the truth surrounding what took place leading up to, during and following the murder of Breonna Taylor. And for months, LMPD and Mayor Fischer have covered it up.”
The attorneys filed motions in Jefferson Circuit Court on Monday seeking to hold the custodians for the coroner’s office and the Police Merit Board in contempt of court for failing to produce records requested in relation to Taylor’s death, the Courier-Journal reported.
Aguiar and Baker have attempted to force the disclosure of documents and records pertaining to Taylor’s death through multiple subpoenas. In their press release, the attorneys said that several of the deadlines for the production of documents had already passed without anything being turned over. Those records included an autopsy report from the coroner’s office, records of government officials communicating about Taylor’s death, Police Merit Board personnel files for the officers involved, and the mayor’s communications concerning Taylor’s death.
“Under the direction and instruction of our mayor, NONE of these documents were produced and have not been produced,” the attorneys wrote. “Instead, under the direction of the mayor, the coroner’s office and the merit board produced the information directly to counsel for the city and withheld it from our office and Tamika.”
Aguiar and Baker said the only subpoena that authorities complied with was one releasing a portion of the 911 call made by Taylor’s boyfriend the night of the shooting. The lawyers said they intend to seek all sanctions available for the “blatant and willful violations” of discovery procedures.
“These ‘above the law’ actions have gone on for far too long in this administration. Contrary to the mayor’s office’s beliefs, the city is not exempt from the rules governing our justice system,” the release continued. “Actions speak louder than words. Of all the cities dealing with the tragedies of officer-involved shootings and violence inflicted upon black lives, Louisville’s administration has been the least transparent, the slowest and the most frustrating. This administration simply believes it is above the law. Our administration in Louisville blatantly ignored our requests for an independent investigation. Here, our department continues to investigate itself, claims no video (while dodging the question of the existence video for any of the other 120 officers dispatched to the scene) and continues to allow plain clothes officers to execute warrants and conduct business as usual.”
Read the full press release below.
[image via Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Taylor’s family]
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