Nearly seven months after police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, the city’s mayor has publicly released hundreds of pages of documents and materials from a police investigation into the case.
The trove of materials from the police department’s public integrity unit (PIU) raises new questions – and renews outrage – about the information used to obtain the “no-knock” warrant that ultimately led to Taylor’s death.
Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, was killed in the early hours of March 13, when plainclothes Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers conducting a narcotics investigation barged into her home while serving a “no-knock” warrant, which allows officers to enter a premises without first making their presence known.
Police say that despite the warrant, they knocked and announced their presence several times before entering the apartment. But Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and several neighbours said they did not hear police announce themselves.
Walker said he fired one shot, mistaking police for intruders. Police then unleashed more than 30 rounds, hitting Taylor several times. She died in her hallway. One police officer was injured. No drugs, money or paraphernalia were found.
The PIU files
Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was one of the main targets of the investigation that led to the raid on March 13.
Detective Joshua Jaynes, the officer who applied for the warrant, swore in an affidavit that he had “verified through a US Postal Inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages” at Taylor’s home.
But Jaynes later admitted he did not speak directly to the postal inspector, instead relying on another officer, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, who had connections to the postal service, according to the PIU files.
Mattingly contacted the police department in Shively, a suburb of Louisville. The Shively Police Department was told by the postal inspector that “no boxes” were delivered to Glover at Taylor’s address. That message was then delivered to Mattingly and other officers, the PUI files show.
“I could have worded a little bit differently in there,” Jaynes told investigators, referring to the affidavit used to obtain the warrant.“The wording on the affidavit is misleading,” Sergeant Jason Vance wrote in a summary of the investigation. Vance also said that “given Jaynes’s statement related to the information, [it] should be reviewed for criminal actions”.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw, who signed the search warrant, previously told The Courier-Journal that she was concerned Jaynes lied to obtain the warrant after reports surfaced raising questions about the case.
But the PIU documents released this week marked the first time the public learned the extent to which Jaynes may have misled the judge.
The PUI files also include body camera footage, transcripts and audio of interviews with officers and witnesses, additional reports written by investigators, and photos and videos that may be “disturbing and traumatic” to some individuals, the LMPD said.
“Some items have been redacted, blurred or withheld for privacy or legal reasons,” the department added.