The footage, which was obtained by VICE News and documents what was seen by officers who responded to the scene after the shooting, has not previously been made public. It shows officers appearing to break multiple department policies and corroborates parts of Taylor’s boyfriend’s testimony. It also raises questions about the integrity not only of the crime scene but of the ensuing investigation into what happened that night.
The footage was captured by 45 different body cameras and included as part of the investigative file compiled by the LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit and shared with the Kentucky attorney general’s office. (No footage from the raid itself has been released, and for months, LMPD has insisted that none exists, saying that officers in this unit often operate in plainclothes and were not required to wear body cameras. VICE News has previously reported that crime scene photos contradict initial statements by the LMPD claiming that the officers involved, who work narcotics, do not wear body cameras. Photographs of officers taken from that night clearly show Tony James, one of the at least seven officers present for the raid, wearing a body camera over his right shoulder.)
Footage shows not one of the seven officers who were present for the raid being immediately separated and paired with an escort, which is a violation of LMPD’s own policy. The department’s standards and procedures state that all officers involved in a critical incident must be paired with an escort officer at the scene and “isolated from all non-essential individuals for the remainder of the initial investigation.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” a former LMPD narcotics officer, who reviewed parts of the footage, told VICE News.