LMPD officers serving warrant at Breonna Taylor’s home were not wearing body cameras
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad have asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney to review the findings of the Public Integrity Unit investigation regarding Breonna Taylor.
Taylor was shot and killed when LMPD officers served a warrant at her home in Southwest Louisville. The three officers who served the warrant, Sergeant Jon Mattingly, who was shot and injured during the incident, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Detective Brett Hankison, were not wearing body cameras.
According to LMPD, the three officers are part of the Criminal Interdiction Division, a team that started in November 2019 and is made up of several units that primarily work narcotics and violent crime cases. Some of the members of CID are issued body cameras, though those officers who generally work narcotics cases have not been issued body cameras due to the nature of their work.
“A unit such as narcotics, they may not wear body cameras due to the desire to protect some of the people that they interact with and to protect their investigation,” LMPD Major Paul Humphrey said.
River City Fraternal Order of Police President Ryan Nichols took Humphrey’s statement further.
Nichols told WAVE 3 News because narcotics officers often deal with informants and sensitive drug information, wearing body cameras on a day-to-day basis may actually hurt their investigations.
“[Informants’] identity needs to be protected," Nichols said. "The narcotics world is a very dangerous world and those individuals who, at times provide information to law enforcement, do so at the grave danger of themselves.”
But in Breonna Taylor’s case, officers were not collecting information. They were in the process of serving the warrant, which reminds Attorney Leland Hulbert of a case in 2016. Hulbert represented Kenneth Probus, shot and injured a Shively police officer after the department served a warrant at Probus’ home.
Officers were not wearing body cameras at the time of that shooting, which Hulbert told WAVE 3 News made it near-impossible to find out what actually happened while in court.
“We would’ve known whose story was right, because in these barge-in type cases, the police always say they did everything right," Hulbert said. "The victims say they didn’t do anything right. The police are all wrong. A body cam would take care of about 75-80 percent of that and clear up a lot of things.”
Nichols told WAVE 3 News this most-recent case might be a chance for LMPD to look at the current body camera protocol and potentially have narcotics officers wear cameras more often.
“When they’re putting on their raid vest that says police, their tactical vest, whatever they’re doing to prepare for that warrant prior to the execution," Nichols said. "They could possibly where a body camera during the execution of that warrant.”
WAVE 3 News asked LMPD if there have been more discussions about body camera usage since the death of Breonna Taylor.
In a statement, LMPD said, “since instituting body worn cameras in the department there have been several discussions and policy modifications about who should wear body cameras and under what circumstances. I’m sure those conversations will continue.”
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