LMPD body camera footage shows the moments of chaos and confusion in the aftermath of the March 13 Breonna Taylor shooting.
Louisville Courier Journal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Everywhere there was confusion and chaos.
“10-30! 10-30! Officer down! Officer shot on Springfield!” an officer frantically told a dispatcher.
Body cameras worn by Louisville Metro Police officers who raced to the St. Anthony Gardens apartment complex on Springfield Drive around 1 a.m. March 13 captured the frantic aftermath on tape.
An officer was shot, they were told. The shooter was still in the apartment.
What they weren’t told — not right away — was that a 26-year-old woman was shot dead inside.
Her name was Breonna Taylor.
The dramatic video footage from the officers who arrived on the scene was released last week as part of the investigative file into Taylor’s death.
There is no footage of the shooting itself. The seven officers who went to Taylor’s home at Apartment 4 to conduct a search for drugs and cash shortly before 1 a.m. either weren’t wearing body cameras or they didn’t activate.
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Instead, the first footage from that night comes from Third Division Officer Grant Combs, who was near Taylor’s apartment on Springfield Drive when he heard the call that an officer had been shot in the left leg.
Seconds later, Combs stopped outside a chain-link gate at the entrance to Taylor’s apartment complex. Radio transmissions and Combs’ body camera captured the officers on the other side of the gate yelling at Combs to ram it with his squad car.
Combs plowed through, then ran to help treat Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was on the parking lot pavement outside the apartment, bleeding from his thigh.
Police say he was shot when Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot after officers broke down the door of Taylor’s apartment.
Though the officers who conducted the search warrant said they knocked and announced their presence several times, Walker has repeatedly said he didn’t know who was at the door.
In the frantic minutes after Mattingly was shot, Detective Brett Hankison can be heard on the radio telling responding officers the shooter was barricaded inside the apartment armed with an AR-15 rifle. Later, a SWAT team would only find one weapon, a 9 mm handgun Walker legally owned.
After officers lifted a wounded Mattingly onto the trunk of a car and drove him away from the apartment, other responding officers grabbed rifles from their trunks and surrounded the apartment while Hankison yelled for Walker to come outside.
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Footage from another responding officer, Cristen Branan, shows Walker with his hands raised, crying as Hankison ordered him to slowly walk backward toward police.
“I’m scared,” Walker cried.
“You’re scared? Right!” Hankison replied.
K-9 Officer Jeremiah Nimmo took over for Hankison, yelling to Walker: “Walk straight back, or I will send this dog on you!”
After he was handcuffed, Walker can be heard repeatedly asking officers, “What did I do?”
He told the officers he and Taylor did not know who was at the door. One of the officers responded, “No, we announced three times: ‘Police, search warrant!’”
On the footage, Walker can be heard telling police it was Taylor who shot at officers. He eventually admitted he was the one who fired the one shot at the door.
A SWAT team arrived as Walker was led away by officers. Members of that team would later tell investigators they were not told about the raid at Taylor’s apartment as they were helping with drug raids 10 miles away that night.
Footage from one of the SWAT team members showed them entering the apartment and checking each room while Taylor lay dead in the hallway.
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“Ma’am, can you hear us?” a SWAT team member can be heard asking while another checked her for a pulse.
That same footage also captured Hankison stepping into the apartment while SWAT team members were inside, an apparent violation of LMPD policy.
Hankison asked about the shell casings on the ground inside the apartment, and if there were any guns visible. He was eventually fired from the department in June, accused of “blindly” firing into Taylor’s apartment and a neighboring apartment.
Hankison, who has appealed his firing, was also the only officer indicted by a grand jury. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment for the bullets he fired into that neighboring apartment.
No charges were filed in connection with Taylor’s death.
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Staff reporters Darcy Costello, Tessa Duvall and Matt Mencarini contributed to this story. Jonathan Bullington is an investigative reporter. Reach him at: 502-582-4241; [email protected]; Twitter: @jrbullington.
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