As anti-police brutality protests continue to spring up around the nation, one of the cases at the center of this current debate continues to be reshaped by those in the know.
Breonna Taylor was killed by police back in March during a late-night drug raid at her apartment. There were no drugs found in the apartment, and Taylor herself may or may not have been sleeping when police opened fire, unleashing nearly three dozen rounds in a gunfight with Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Walker claimed that he fired one round in self defense after believing that the police were intruders as they used a battering ram to gain entry to Taylor’s apartment.
Just days ago, a grand jury found cause for only one officer to be charged in the incident, but not in Taylor’s death. That officer faces charges of “wanton endangerment” for firing wildly into a neighboring apartment.
This decision sent protesters out into the streets once again, demanding justice for the young woman.
Now, a new report out of the Louisville SWAT team could again rile demonstrators up.
Two months after police killed Breonna Taylor while executing a search warrant on her apartment in the middle of the night, a Louisville SWAT commander told investigators he had serious concerns about how the deadly raid was carried out.
The comments, made by Louisville Metro Police Department Lieutenant Dale Massey in a lengthy interview with detectives from the department’s Public Integrity Unit, suggest alarms were raised by some officers before the raid, and that Massey wasn’t the only one who left the scene with serious concerns.
“We just got the feeling that night that, you know, um, something really bad happened,” Massey told investigators on May 19.
The comments seem to cast doubt on the way in which the investigation was being handled.
When Massey and other SWAT team members arrived at Taylor’s apartment complex, they were met with what Massey described as a “chaotic scene.” There were multiple reports of automatic gunfire, and officers kept saying that someone inside the apartment had a rifle. All of this led him to believe the sliding glass doors were riddled with bullets that were shot from inside.
It wasn’t until minutes later, he said, that he realized the rounds had actually come from outside, and were all fired by police. At one point, now-former LMPD detective Brett Hankison gestured to the shot-out windows, and tapped his chest — ‘“almost to say, ‘yeah that was me,’” Massey told investigators. Hankison is one of three officers who LMPD says fired their weapons that night. He was fired in July, and is appealing his termination.
Massey also makes it clear that involved officers were roaming freely on scene after the incident, despite LMPD’s explicit policy that they be separated and paired with a peer support officer. He specifically recalls seeing Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired 16 rounds that night according to LMPD, walking around the scene with a rifle.
The SWAT members were also surprised to find that they weren’t notified that the raid was taking place, as is often customary in these sort of situations, should backup become necessary.
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