LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville police officials have released a stark, nearly blank incident report on the March shooting death of EMT Breonna Taylor, who was gunned down in her own home by officers executing a search warrant.
The document, which is stoking ire in a case that has already led to widespread protests across the U.S., misspells Taylor’s middle name, Shaquelle, and lists the case as a “death investigation” involving the Louisville Metro Police Department. It lists a handgun as the weapon used.
Under injuries, however, the document lists “none.”
Taylor, 26, was shot at least eight times the morning of March 13 when officers unloaded more than 20 rounds into her apartment, according to attorneys for her family.
In the spot that questions whether forced entry was used, the box marked “no” is checked.
But officers Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankinson used a battering ram to bust down the door of the apartment where Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. The officers, members of the department’s Criminal Interdiction Division, were acting on a “no-knock” warrant.
The man the officers were seeking, Jamarcus Glover, lived about 10 miles from Taylor’s apartment complex – and he had been arrested hours earlier at his own home.
Walker, believing Taylor’s apartment was being broken into, used his legal handgun to fire a shot at the plainclothes officers, striking Mattingly in the leg. Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault, but those charges were later dismissed.
The incident report lists Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankinson as the “offenders” in the case, but the section for a narrative of the incident is blank except for the words “PIU investigation.”
Taylor’s family and the public have been awaiting answers in her death for nearly three months. Richard Green, editor of the Louisville Courier Journal, expressed frustration at the lack of information in the report.
“I read this report and have to ask the mayor, the police chief and the city’s lawyers: Are you kidding? This is what you consider being transparent to taxpayers and the public?” Green said in a statement published Wednesday in the newspaper. “At a time when so many are rightfully demanding to know more details about that tragic March evening, I fail to understand this lack of transparency. The public deserves more.”
The Courier Journal reported that police officials blamed the nearly blank report on errors in their reporting system when the file was created.
See the incident report released by the Louisville Metro Police Department below, courtesy of the Courier Journal.
“Inaccuracies in the report are unacceptable to us, and we are taking immediate steps to correct the report and to ensure the accuracy of incident reports going forward,” a statement from the department stated.
On Wednesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called the document “unacceptable.”
“Full stop. It’s issues like this that erode public confidence in LMPD’s ability to do its job, and that’s why I’ve ordered an external top-to-bottom review of the department,” Fischer said. “I am sorry for the additional pain to the Taylor family and our community.”
Taylor’s death, along with the Feb. 23 killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has led to protests that have rocked cities across the U.S. and abroad. It has brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront in a way that has eclipsed even the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of protesters, many of whom have been met with violence from law enforcement officers, have called for an overhaul of American policing, including a “defunding” or demilitarization of police departments nationwide.
Taylor’s death, in particular, has raised questions about “no-knock” warrants, which allow the police to enter a person’s apartment without first knocking and announcing their presence.
Walker told authorities that the officers who killed Taylor beat on the apartment door for up to 45 seconds but never identified themselves, according to audio of his police interview. As he and Taylor got dressed, he realized the door was being rammed.
“I let off one shot and then all of a sudden there’s a whole lot of shots,” Walker said. “We both just dropped to the ground and the gun fell.”
Saying he was “scared to death,” Walker said he began seeing “lights and stuff.”
“So, I’m like, ‘OK, there’s the police,’ and there’s a lot of yelling and stuff. They’re just shooting and we’re both on the ground, and when all the shots stop, I’m, like, panicking, she’s right there on the ground, like, bleeding,” he said.
Taylor died on the floor of her hallway.
Her killing is being investigated by the FBI.
Following Taylor’s death, then-Louisville police Chief Steve Conrad announced his retirement. He was subsequently fired by Fischer following the June 1 fatal police shooting of David McAtee, a beloved Louisville barbecue spot owner who was killed as police tried to clear protesters from a nearby parking lot.
The demonstrators were protesting the killings of Taylor, Floyd and Arbery.
Conrad’s firing stemmed, in part, from the fact that the officers who fired at McAtee did not have their body cameras running, part of a policy put in place following Taylor’s killing. No camera footage exists of Taylor’s death.
Conrad’s replacement, interim Chief Robert Schroeder, on Wednesday announced that Detective Joshua Jaynes, the Louisville detective who obtained the no-knock warrant for Taylor’s home, has been placed on administrative reassignment, the Courier Journal reported. His reassignment will continue until Taylor’s family and attorneys, as well as a U.S. postal inspector, learn how and why the warrant was approved, according to the newspaper.
Taylor was named in the warrant Jaynes obtained for her apartment, which the newspaper reported became a target because the main suspect in the drug case, Jamarcus Glover, had been seen picking up a package from the apartment and driving to a “known drug house.”
A Louisville-based postal inspector told WDRB, however, that Louisville detectives did not use his office to confirm any of the suspects in the drug case were receiving packages at Taylor’s home.
A separate law enforcement agency did seek information on Taylor’s address in January, but Inspector Tony Gooden said his office found no sign of suspicious mail going to the EMT’s apartment.
“There’s no packages of interest going there,” Gooden told the news station.
He said it was possible but unlikely that police asked a postal inspector from another jurisdiction for aid, WDRB reported. If they had, Gooden said his office would have been notified by the outside jurisdiction.
Gooden’s statements call into question what Jaynes wrote in the warrant for Taylor’s home, including allegations that Glover was using Taylor’s address as his own.
“Affiant verified through a U.S. postal inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages at 3003 Springfield Drive #4,” the warrant stated. “Affiant knows through training and experience that it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to receive mail packages at different locations to avoid detection from law enforcement.”
Read the warrant below, courtesy of Spectrum News.
Jaynes wrote that Taylor’s white Chevrolet Impala had been seen outside the drug house and that he believed Glover might be keeping drugs and cash from the sale of drugs at Taylor’s apartment.
No drugs or other evidence of wrongdoing was found in Taylor’s home following her killing, her family’s lawyers said.
Taylor, a certified EMT who worked as an emergency room technician at the University of Louisville Health’s Jewish Hospital East, as well as working as needed at Norton Healthcare, had no history of drug arrests.
“She was already an accomplished and certified EMT for the city of Louisville and currently worked for UofL as a medical tech," her aunt, Bianca Austin, told WHAS-11 in Louisville following her death. “This is not a woman who would sacrifice her life and her family morals and values to sell drugs on the street.”
Sam Aguiar, one of the attorneys representing Taylor’s family, said the officers should never have been at Taylor’s apartment.
“If this warrant was based upon a blatant misrepresentation by LMPD officers to a circuit court judge, then add perjury to the list of the illegal officer conduct that led to a beautiful and innocent woman’s death,” Aguiar told WDRB. “They should all be fired and prosecuted to the full extent permitted by law.”