From the very beginning of the saga of Breonna Taylor’s death during a Louisville, Kentucky police raid more than six months ago, it’s been unclear precisely what happened on the night she died. The investigation has been slow and grinding, but more details have begun to emerge in recent weeks. Last week, Karen dove into some of those details, specifically identifying who the original target of the raid was and some of the events that led up to the night of the raid. Much of the information centers on Jamarcus Glover, the actual target of the raid. But he wasn’t even in the apartment when the cops arrived, making the entire operation look like a complete debacle.
But now there’s been a leak of a police department memo containing more details. While more information was clearly welcome to those interested in finding the truth, local officials and activists are crying foul, claiming that the memo is some sort of coverup to get the police off the hook. After we finish going through it, you’ll have to be the judge of that for yourselves. (NBC News)
A leaked Louisville Metro Police Department memo shows investigators had more evidence than previously made public showing a connection between Breonna Taylor and the main target of the narcotics probe that led officers to barge into her home the night she was shot dead by police.
But the memo was written several weeks after Taylor’s death and includes details that weren’t provided to the judge in the search warrant application as well as evidence that came to light after her death —prompting critics to slam it as an effort to smear Taylor and justify the deadly police raid.
The leaked memo, obtained by NBC News, addresses why the officers sought a warrant to enter Taylor’s apartment but says nothing about the use of force or other possible violations of Louisville police department policy, such as the blind firing of bullets into neighboring apartments.
The contents of the memo have little or nothing to do with the actual raid on Taylor’s apartment and the subsequent gunfire but instead focuses on findings of the investigation that led to that point. The primary target of the investigation was, as mentioned above, Jamarcus Glover. He lived on the other side of town and was raided on the same night. The original depiction of the story presented by Taylor’s family was that she was only a tangential figure in all of this and shouldn’t have been the target of a no-knock raid to begin with.
The leaked memo tells a somewhat different story. Taylor had known Glover since at least 2016 and not just casually. She posted his bail when he was arrested in 2017. After being arrested again this year, he called Taylor’s number three times from jail. In a separate encounter with the police in February, Glover listed Taylor’s number as his point of contact. Further, in a phone call made by Glover at one point, he indicates that Taylor was holding money for him (presumably drug money) in excess of ten thousand dollars. No money or drugs were found at Taylor’s apartment, however.
None of this information so much as implies that Taylor was involved in any of Glover’s many illegal activities beyond possibly allowing him to sometimes stash things at her apartment, but it does make her a “person of interest” if the two of them were interacting on that level. Failing to find evidence at Glover’s house may have suggested that additional evidence might be had at Taylor’s apartment, or at least that’s the way I read it. Does that justify a no-knock warrant and breaking in the door? I don’t know.
Moving to the scene of Taylor’s death, when the police arrived they broke in the door. This is where everything went south quickly. The first thing to note is that the cops didn’t just go in guns blazing. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot at the doorway, striking one of the officers in the leg. Needless to say, once you start firing a weapon at the police, particularly when you shoot one of them, the entire formula shifts in a literal heartbeat.
The real question from the moment of entry was whether or not the police yelled “Police! Warrant!” as they are supposed to before taking the door out. If they did, that deflates Kenneth Walker’s claim that he fired because he feared a home invasion by criminals was taking place. But unfortunately, the police entering Taylor’s apartment were either not wearing body cameras or had them switched off. (That part seems unclear.)
I’m unsure how far this memo moves the ball down the field toward getting to the truth of these events, if at all. It seems clear that even if Taylor was involved with Glover to the extent that she may have had some minor role in his drug dealing, she wasn’t enough of a high-profile target to wind up being shot, nor did any of her actions as described on the night of the raid make her a valid target. But it also seems equally clear that the police probably weren’t shooting at Brionna Taylor. They were responding to being fired upon. In either case, Breonna Taylor’s death looks like a tragic accident rather than a targeted killing by the cops. The only question is if they followed proper protocols and if it could have been avoided. The entire thing is a hot mess and absent some mysteriously appearing footage of the raid, I’m not sure how we’re supposed to arrive at a definitive conclusion.