LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – An attorney for Breonna Taylor’s family has filed a lawsuit claiming Louisville Metro Police may have given the public "misinformation" about the existence of some body camera footage from the raid of Taylor's home.
The lawsuit, filed against LMPD in Jefferson Circuit Court on Wednesday, claims police are also improperly withholding public records that would prove whether there are additional body camera videos from the night Taylor was shot and killed by officers.
The lawsuit is requesting a judge order the department to immediately turn over information requested under Kentucky's open records law.
LMPD has said there is no officer body cam footage of the early morning raid on March 13, 2020.
Officer Anthony James failed to turn on his body cam and other officers were not wearing them during the raid, police have said. Photos of former Officer Myles Cosgrove show him wearing a mounting bracket for a body camera but the camera is not attached.
Some footage from after Taylor was shot has been publicly released.
Attorney Sam Aguiar, who represented Taylor’s family in the $12 million wrongful death lawsuit paid out by the city, has previously argued that documents turned over by LMPD show there may be more body camera footage that is being withheld.
The lawsuit says that several officers involved both before and after the raid had been given body cameras.
And the department had implemented upgraded body camera equipment that automatically activates an officer’s camera — as well as all nearby body cams — when an officer’s cruiser emergency lights are turned on, according to the suit.
The lawsuit says there were several LMPD vehicles at or near the scene while police planned the raid of Taylor’s home and then carried it out. Any of these vehicles, according to the suit, could have sent out a signal to activate nearby body cams.
For example, the suit alleges that Cosgrove’s unmarked vehicle had lights activated at various times while at the scene.
“Simply put, it would have been difficult for most of the LMPD members with body cameras and who were associated with … events at Breonna’s” home “to not have had their Axon body cameras activated at one point or another,” the suit says.
“Given that Metro was able to verify that certain LMPD members’ body cameras were specifically assigned on March 13, 2020, there is a reasonable basis to believe that misinformation has been presented to the general public regarding the usage of body cameras” by officers.
LMPD does not comment on pending litigation.
Police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room tech, during an undercover raid on her apartment on Springfield Drive as part of a series of raids elsewhere that targeted narcotics trafficking.
No drugs or money were found in her home.
The suit claims LMPD has failed to turn over an audit trail of the footage from the Axon body cameras for the night Taylor was shot and killed by police, requested under the Kentucky open records law on June 1.
That audit trail, according to the suit, would identify the time of the recordings, the user and the identity of anyone who accessed the footage.
The “audit trails should assist in verifying whether Metro has been truthful to the public regarding the existence of footage,” the suit says.
Former Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was was shot in the leg during the raid, has claimed “under oath that he was never issued a body camera," the suit says.
But records provided to Aguiar by police show he was assigned a body camera prior to the Taylor raid, according to the suit.
The suit also claims Cosgrove and former Det. Brett Hankison, among others involved in the raid, had also been assigned body cameras.
The public, according to the lawsuit, has “an uncompromised right to know whether undisclosed body camera footage exists, or otherwise previously existed, from LMPD Axon Cameras which related to the events surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor.”
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