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Breonna Taylor Case: Without indisputable evidence, LMPD officers can’t yet be fired

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 11:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There are calls across the city -- and the country -- for the three officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting death to be fired and charged.

Taylor was shot dead when LMPD narcotics officers served a no-knock warrant at her home back in March.

Wednesday, WAVE 3 News learned those officers cannot be suspended because there’s not indisputable evidence against them.

The information came from a memo obtained from the Metro Government. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer commented on that recently, saying that if there was video or tangible evidence in the form of audio or pictures like there was in George Floyd’s case, those officers could have been immediately fired.

However, the city attorney says that’s not the situation regarding the three LMPD officers in the Taylor case. There are conflicting accounts from the officers on what happened the night Taylor died, and only finishing the investigation will clear up doubt. Actions against those officers won’t be taken until the multiple investigations are complete.

Det. Brett Hankison allegedly disappeared from the scene after firing through a closed window with the shades drawn. Hankison’s attorney says he went to the hospital to check on Mattingly, who was shot upon entering Taylor’s apartment.

Lonita Baker, one of the attorneys representing Breonna Taylor’s family, says Hankison’s actions violated policy and should be enough to fire him.

”He was gone for two hours which would have clearly obstructed and interfered with the investigation the PIU had to do,” Baker said.

Baker started off by saying they never asked for Hankison to be suspended without pay. They requested his termination.

”We have not seen anything preventing the chief from terminating these officers at the direction of the mayor,” Baker said.

Fischer says the contract with the FOP, entrenched by state law, means he can’t fire the officers at this point. If he did, they could sue the city and get their jobs back with back pay.

Many say Fischer should do it anyway and worry about ramifications later.

According to an internal memo sent from a Louisville city attorney to the city’s head of Human Resources, a 2015 agreement between the city and the police union sets strict requirements for the chief to suspend an officer without pay before an investigation is finished.

The mayor’s office has not responded to WAVE 3 News’ request for the context of the memo.

As far as when to expect the facts from the investigation to come out, LMPD said Wednesday the case is moving faster than most cases usually do. It’s currently in the hands of the attorney general, but it’s not clear when it will be completed.

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