LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A judge has rejected the city’s attempt to block the release of personal cell phone data of some of the Louisville Metro Police officers who were involved in the raid of Breonna Taylor’s apartment.
Attorney Steve Romines, who represents Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s former boyfriend, argued in a recent court hearing that officers have acknowledged using their personal phones for work and he believes “there is a conspiracy in this case” among police involved in planning and executing the raid.
Last month, Romines and co-counsel Fred Moore asked Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Brian Edwards to order the production of phone data for officers Myles Cosgrove, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes and Wes Barton for the hours surrounding the March 13, 2020 raid.
LMPD denied having the information, though Romines and Moore filed documents showing the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, which presented the case to a grand jury, turned the evidence back over to police after the investigation concluded.
In addition, attorneys for Walker asked the judge to allow them to subpoena phone records for officers Michael Nobles and Tony James.
The city has repeatedly asked the judge to quash a subpoena for the phones, calling it “an insidious invasion of privacy.”
"There's nothing more private ... than the content of our cell phones," an attorney for the city told Judge Brian Edwards earlier this month.
On July 14, Edwards rejected the city’s argument to quash the subppena and ordered Metro Government to “make all reasonable efforts to procure and produce the requested items.”
On Wednesday, the city filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his order, arguing Walker’s attorneys hadn’t proven there is any relevant information in the phone data and calling it a “fishing expedition.”
“To give the Plaintiff a 24-hour window into the personal lives of (the officers) with no indication of relevant evidence is highly unreasonable,” Assistant Jefferson County Attorney Peter Ervin wrote.
The city indicated it will appeal to a higher court if Edwards does not change his mind.
Attorneys for Walker have argued that his cell phone was immediately taken by police the night of the shooting.
“Privacy apparently only goes one way,” Romines said in a July 13 court hearing.
When police burst into Taylor’s home on March 13, 2020, Walker has said he thought they were being robbed and fired a shot, hitting Sgt. Mattingly in the leg.
Police fired back, shooting and killing Taylor 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.
Walker was charged with attempted murder of an officer but Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine later dismissed the charge.
Attorneys for Walker filed a lawsuit in September, arguing police “threatened Kenny’s life, illegally detained Kenny, interrogated him under false pretenses” and improperly arrested and jailed him, among other allegations.
Hankison was the only officer charged in the raid, indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing at a neighboring apartment unit, showing “extreme indifference to human life” for three people inside, a grand jury concluded on Sept. 23. He has pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.
No officers were indicted in Taylor’s death. Taylor was killed by one of Cosgrove’s bullets, according to FBI ballistics findings released by Cameron.
Det. Jaynes was fired for being untruthful in a search warrant used to raid Taylor’s home.
Officer James failed to turn on his body cam police have said. Photos of Cosgrove show him wearing a mounting bracket for a body camera but the camera is not attached.
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