LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Breonna Taylor’s mother has filed complaints against six Louisville Metro Police officers for their role in the March 13, 2020, raid and fatal police shooting of her daughter as well as the subsequent criminal investigation, bringing to light new allegations of misconduct in the controversial case.
Tamika Palmer has asked the police department’s Professional Standards Unit to investigate misinformation provided by officers before and after the raid, improper monitoring of her daughter’s cellphone, incorrect statements about police not being assigned body cameras and whether some officers involved in the raid were drinking at a bar on Dixie Highway before the shooting, among other allegations.
The March 8 complaints, signed by her attorneys, focus heavily on the internal criminal investigation into the shooting, claiming key witnesses were not interviewed, illegal activity was covered up and that investigators tried to “deceive the public and disregard evidence unfavorable to the officers.”
The officers named in the complaints are Sgt. Kyle Meany, Det. Anthony James, Det. Mike Nobles, Sgt. Amanda Seelye, Det. Mike Campbell and Lt. Shawn Hoover.
Officer Beth Ruoff, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement that police place "the highest priority on conducting thorough and impartial investigations, and the complaints received from Ms. Palmer’s attorney are no exception. We are committed to being as transparent as possible within the confines of those limitations outlined by law of the Commonwealth."
PSU, which investigates whether officers violated department policies, has already initiated investigations into most of the officers named by Palmer. In fact, at least three of the officers named in the new complaints have already been disciplined.
But Taylor’s attorney, Sam Aguiar, said internal investigations by police so far “were very narrowly tailored” and the issues brought up by Palmer have been “willfully ignored.”
“When you compare what was done with versus what was supposed to be done, it’s absolutely egregious,” Aguiar said of the raid, shooting and subsequent criminal investigation. “This hopefully forces LMPD to look into the allegations, to force these officers to come in and give a statement regarding the allegations and to hear specifically why they deviated from all of these policies.”
For example, Sgt. Kyle Meany was reprimanded in December for his failure to forward the “Risk Assessment Matrix” for Taylor’s home “through your chain of command on or before” the raid, according to police records. The department requires a risk assessment before serving search warrants, and the SWAT team must be notified and respond if the matrix score requires it.
But Palmer’s complaint claims Meany — who oversaw the Place-Based Investigation squad’s investigation into Jamarcus Glover, the main target of the narcotics investigation — was responsible for multiple problems with the case, including allowing police to illegally monitor Taylor’s phone.
On Feb. 17, officers obtained a warrant to monitor a phone number police said belonged to Glover. But the number belonged to Taylor, and officers monitored it “unlawfully” until her death, according to Palmer’s complaint.
“LMPD had no basis or probable cause to obtain a warrant to track my daughter’s phone,” according to the complaint. “This was an invasion of her privacy, was unlawful … There are no records indicating that Meany’s squad had the warrant rescinded, or otherwise stopped tracking Breonna’s phone, prior to her death.”
In addition, tracking Taylor’s phone should have made it obvious to police that she was working fulltime and was not with Glover or storing his money and drugs at her apartment, the complaint says.
Still, it says, “Meany permitted his squad to advise a judge and fellow LMPD members in March 2020 that Breonna was suspected to be Jamarcus Glover’s girlfriend” and holding drugs and money for him.
Besides the false information about Glover’s cellphone, Palmer’s complaint against Meany also accuses him of allowing detectives to include false information in the search warrant signed by a judge hours before the raid Taylor’s home.
Det. Joshua Jaynes said in the warrant affidavit he had "verified through a U.S. postal inspector that Jamarcus Glover, whom Taylor had previously dated, had been receiving packages" at her home. But Jaynes did not talk to a postal inspector and Louisville police — including Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Mike Nobles — were repeatedly told there were no packages, "suspicious or otherwise," delivered to Taylor's home, according to testimony in an internal LMPD report.
Meany “permitted his squad to obtain a no-knock warrant for Breonna’s home without ever advising SWAT,” according to the complaint. In order to exclude SWAT, detectives converted the no-knock warrant to a knock-and-announce one, reducing the score on the matrix.
“Meany, his squad, Nobles and Mattingly all knew that the assertion that Jamarcus Glover was ‘possibly sourcing dope or money in that place, because he sent some packages there’ was based upon bad intelligence that had been confirmed false, yet all of them failed to convey this” to other officers, according to the complaints.
In fact, officers involved in the raid had differing information and few details about the Taylor raid, including whether Taylor was alone or not, according to the complaint.
The complaint against Campbell, who was in charge of surveilling Taylor’s apartment before the raid, claims, in part, he failed to identify the presence of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, at her home.
He also failed to provide officers with a “proper configuration” of the home and police on scene were unaware of where the exits were.
“Campbell’s account of the events leading up to the warrant execution are off base and demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge of the surrounding, larger scale investigation,” according to the complaint. “Campbell specifically states in his interview that he believed Breonna Taylor and Jamarcus Glover were at her home together.”
Campbell is already under investigation by PSU.
In addition, Meany is also accused of failing to require detectives raiding Taylor’s home to wear and activate their body cameras. Campbell is accused of not activating his body camera.
One of the new complaints names Det. Anthony James, who was wearing a body camera during the raid but failed to activate it and is also accused of lying to investigators in saying Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, “were firing guns repeatedly and indiscriminately towards the officers.”
“These statements of Tony James were a complete fabrication,” according to the complaint. “They were knowingly false. They deliberately obstructed a homicide investigation. And the statements were made merely hours after the shooting, when memories were relatively fresh and there had been minimal opportunities for officers to get together and get their stories aligned.”
The complaint accused other officers of providing false information to investigations, including Nobles.
“It is important to note that these knowingly false claims were never challenged by PIU,” the complaint says.
Walker fired one shot at what he thought were robbers breaking into Taylor’s apartment, his attorneys have said. Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who was shot in the leg, underwent surgery for what police said were severe injuries.
James has already received a one-day suspension for violation of body camera policy. Also, The Courier-Journal reported Thursday that James has retired from LMPD.
Palmer also filed a lengthy complaint against Sgt. Amanda Seelye, who was leading the PIU investigation of the raid and shooting, calling the investigation of the shooting a “catastrophic failure.”
Palmer accuses Seelye and PIU, which investigates officers involved in shootings, of conducting a “biased, deficient, incompetent investigation,” failing to secure the scene, interview witnesses, separate officers involved in the raid and even testify against Walker to a Jefferson County grand jury days after she interviewed him.
Seelye met with Walker hours after the raid, encouraging him to give up his right to remain silent and talk with her.
In her testimony in front of the grand jury, which lasted less than two minutes, Seeyle did not mention that police shot Taylor or that Walker said he feared for his life when he fired his weapon because he didn’t know who was breaking into the home.
Walker was quickly indicted on a charge of attempted murder of a police officer, which was later dismissed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, who, in part, said the case needed more investigation. A judge permanently dismissed the charges earlier this week.
And the complaint points out that investigators did not interview Jaynes about the misinformation in the warrant affidavit until after a U.S. postal inspector in Louisville told WDRB in May that Metro police did not use his office to verify Glover was receiving packages at Taylor's apartment.
At the time, Tony Gooden said a different law enforcement agency asked his office in January to investigate whether Taylor's home was receiving any potentially suspicious mail. After looking into the request, he said, the local office concluded that it wasn't.
“Prior to this point, it appears that the PIU had every intention of sweeping this case under the rug and turning a blind eye to the search warrant issues,” Palmer said in her complaint.
The complaint notes that officers involved in the raid were not taken away from the scene, separated and questioned, as required under police policy. At least three left the scene without escorts, the complaint says.
Det. Brett Hankison was allowed to walk around the scene looking at evidence and talk to other officers before leaving the scene by himself, according to an internal investigation.
At one point, Hankison went to the hospital where Mattingly had been taken, which then-Chief Steve Conrad acknowledged was unusual because someone from the public integrity unit “is usually tasked with keeping up with the officers involved,” according to his interview with investigators.
PIU failed to interview officers who had dozens of calls with Hankison around the time of the shooting, the complaint claims. Hankison had more than 120 calls or text messages but none were made part of the PIU file, according to the complaint.
PIU, which took Taylor and Walker’s phones, did not obtain text messages, call records or location data of officers, according to the complaint. Cell phones were not immediately taken from officers involved and no phone evidence was given to prosecutors.
Other evidence, including shell casings, was moved, according to the complaint. And a neighbor later recovered a shell casing. PIU even left bullets in walls of the apartments, Palmer said.
The complaint alleges investigators “hid the fact that the officers on scene were in fact issued body cameras, instead misleading the public to believe that none of those on scene at Breonna’s had ever been assigned a body camera.
“... Rather than investigate the existence of footage amongst these officers, PIU simply accepted it as true that none existed.”
The complaint also argues that surveillance footage was available from several nearby places, including Taylor’s apartment complex, but was never recovered by police.
And PIU did not “seek a single drug or alcohol test” of officers involved in the raid.
According to Palmer’s complaint, her attorneys obtained information in August “that multiple officers involved in the search warrants may have been consuming alcohol at a bar on Dixie Highway earlier in the evening. The owner of the bar confirmed that LMPD investigators visited the establishment after the shooting to determine whether surveillance footage existed.”
The complaint alleges that PIU “did nothing to follow up on the issue, even though a simple review of credit card receipts could have potentially identified LMPD members and any members of other agencies, such as Shively, who were also present.”
Seelye protected officers instead of investigating them and in turn has been protected by the department, according to the complaint.
“Seelye allowed this investigation to become compromised,” the complaint says. “The investigation was never objective, was never thorough and was never within the boundaries of a proper homicide investigation under policies. … The actions and inactions of Amanda Seelye were unbecoming of an officer. LMPD should sustain substantial violations of policy against her and impose severe consequences.”
In addition, the complaint against Hoover charges that he was the ranking officer on scene and responsible “more than anyone” for a myriad of mistakes made that night, including raiding Taylor’s home without seeing a risk matrix, formal operations plan or the actual search warrant.
“The actions and inactions of Shawn Hoover are unacceptable, intolerable and unbecoming of a ranking officer on scene,” according to the complaint. “He lacked control of the situation, lacked the supervisor skills which were necessary and tampered with an investigation.”
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