In a startling and unnerving new development in the killing of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, Kentucky, at least one of the officers who took part in the fatal raid on her apartment in March was actually wearing a body camera, despite claims by the Louisville Metro Police Department that no bodycam footage exists of the shooting.
In photographs obtained by VICE News, a body camera can be seen mounted on the right shoulder of Detective Anthony James. The photographs were taken following the early-morning March 13 raid on Taylor’s home, contradicting claims by the city and police that the officers who killed Taylor were in a division that wasn’t required to wear the devices.
In prior statements by former Chief Steve Conrad and Mayor Greg Fischer, the officials maintained that no footage exists of the killing of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and certified emergency medical technician shot to death during a botched raid.
The claims that no such footage existed came in the hours immediately following the killing.
“This incident was related to the execution of a search warrant by members of our Criminal Interdiction Division and some of the officers assigned to this division do not wear body-worn video systems,” Chief Conrad said.
The claim has also been repeatedly backed up by Mayor Fischer.
“My understanding is undercover narcotics agents do not use body cameras. And they didn’t have them during the execution of this search raid,” Fischer said in a June interview.
It remains unclear whether the camera was operational during the shooting.
However, attorney Steve Romines, who represents Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, believes that James failed to turn on the bodycam.
“That begs the question, you have it on your shoulder for that specific reason,” Romines said. “What possible excuse is there not to have it on?”
In a separate photo from the over 1200 photos taken by LMPD following the raid, Officer Myles Cosgrove can be seen wearing a bodycam mount without the attached camera.
Taylor was shot multiple times in the undercover raid by three officers while she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. The police had a no-knock search warrant intended to find Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend who was wanted on drug charges.
Louisville Metro Police deployed a battering ram to force their way into the apartment before Walker fired a warning shot that struck an officer. Police responded with 35 rounds, including 10 rounds fired blindly by an officer.
Walker maintains that the officers failed to identify themselves, but police claim that they did so clearly.
Police also claimed in their initial report that Breonna was not injured by their bullets – at least five of which struck her – which turned out to be an obvious lie.
The killing of Breonna Taylor has come under renewed scrutiny and become the focus of intensified community mobilizations since the shocking May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, which rekindled a major nationwide and international movement against systemic racism and police brutality.