PIU interviews show Breonna Taylor’s shooting from neighbors’ perspective

PIU interviews show Breonna Taylor’s shooting from neighbors’ perspective

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Friday marks 48 hours since Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer made public LMPD’s internal investigative files on the deadly Breonna Taylor raid.

The massive file -- 4,470 pages of documents, including more than 1,000 photos, transcriptions of nearly 120 interviews, and at least 50 officer body-camera videos -- was compiled by LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, which investigates potential criminal cases involving city employees.

Also included in the file are audio recordings of interviews the PIU conducted with Taylor’s neighbors, some of whom were awoken by the events that transpired at her apartment. The 12 recordings total around 90 minutes and give insight into what neighbors saw and heard on March 13. The neighbors' identities and their proximity to Taylor’s apartment were made anonymous.

“(I heard) guns going off ... pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop," one neighbor told investigators.

“I went to the window and saw police officers on top of my car with assault rifles and stuff," another one recalled.

In total, seven of the 12 interviews involve neighbors who told investigators they heard gunshots.

FBI agents at the home of Breonna Taylor months after the deadly March shooting that left her dead
FBI agents at the home of Breonna Taylor months after the deadly March shooting that left her dead (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“I heard, I’m going to say, three gunshots, a very short pause and then two gunshots,” one neighbor told a private investigator hired by Taylor’s family’s attorney Sam Aguiar.

One woman told the PIU over the phone the bullets woke her up.

“I didn’t wake up until I heard the first three shots, and I jumped on the floor and I ran to my kids' room," she said. “And I was making sure they were in there because it was so close I was making sure it wasn’t in my house.”

That same neighbor also told investigators her children heard police knocking on the door.

“My kids were like, ‘Momma you didn’t hear that?'" she said. "And I was like, ‘Hear what?’ And they was like, ‘You could obviously tell it was the police down there because someone was beating on the door.’”

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor

In two other recordings, neighbors corroborated that police knocked on the door.

One neighbor told the PIU he heard police announce themselves.

“What were they saying when they were knocking on the door?" a PIU investigator asked.

“This is the cops,” the man said.

“This is the cops?" the investigator questioned.

“Yeah,” the man said.

A second interview between the PIU and that neighbor is also included in the file. In that interview, the man shared a different account of what he saw.

“Did you ever hear anyone identify themselves as police?" the investigator asked during the second interview.

“No, nobody identified themselves,” the man said.

After the grand jury publicly presented charges against former LMPD Det. Brett Hankison, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said officers knocked on Taylor’s door and announced themselves, contradicting those who had said they did neither.

Cameron said interviews with officers and one of Taylor’s neighbors helped him reach that conclusion.

There were calls across the city -- and the country -- for the three officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting death to be fired and charged.
There were calls across the city -- and the country -- for the three officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting death to be fired and charged.

However, whether officers did announce themselves is still a point of contention.

Other neighbors told PIU more frightening details about what they saw that night.

“I did see the dead body out my peephole, because I mean I’m the apartment right next to her," one neighbor said. “And then, I mean, I saw the bullets. There was a bullet right on my welcome mat.”

“The black guy that came out of the house, you know, he was like crying real bad," another neighbor said. "Like, really crying, just something terrible.”

Among the interviews is a nearly 11-minute encounter between the PIU and Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, shortly after the shooting occurred. Palmer can be heard crying while discussing the situation with investigators. They explained to her how officers will process the crime scene and how the investigation will proceed. Investigators also offered their condolences to Palmer twice before turning the recording device off.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.


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Get the WAVE 3 News app on ROKU, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. (Source: WAVE 3 News)