LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Spectrum News 1 has received the grand jury recordings from the Breonna Taylor case after a judge ordered Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release them. We are listening to and breaking down the approximately 15 hours of recordings submitted to Judge Ann Bailey Smith Friday. We are providing highlights from each day of testimony. Read about them below.
You can listen to the recordings here:
Part one begins with Sgt. Jonathon Mattingly's testimony before the LMPD Public Integrity Unit (PIU) on Mar. 25, 2020. On the recording, Mattingly describes arriving on the scene from the time the door to Breonna Taylor's apartment was opened, his getting shot and returning fire.
Mattingly is also asked what he was told in the pre-operational briefing? He said he was told there were suspicious packages coming to this residence and that she may be holding his (not named but referring to Jamarcus Glover's) money. Mattingly said he was told Breonna Taylor should be there alone. He said he was also told [Glover] was her only known boyfriend or “acquaintance.”
Part one of the recording continues with Det. Myles Cosgrove's interview with the PIU. Cosgrove testifies Mattingly is the first person in the apartment and comments on how dark it was inside. He says he was "half a step" behind Mattingly when "I see a blinding white light and vivid white flashes." Cosgrove says he also can't hear anything. He testifies Mattingly is at his feet and knows he has been shot.
Cosgrove says, "I see a distorted shadowing figure that is coming and going due to the flashing light, all happening in the matter of seconds, still standing in the doorway." He says he believes he fired his weapon because he was seeing "white flashes." The remainder of his testimony goes over how he and Mattingly got out of the apartment and what happened after that.
Detective Michael Nobles is one of the officers who was tasked with executing the no-knock warrant at Taylor's apartment on March 13. He testified before the PIU on March 16 and his recording was played for the grand jury on Sept. 21. Nobles told investigators they were there to serve a no-knock warrant, but decided to announce themselves because they believed a female was inside with a baby or small child. Nobles said, they didn’t hear a response for a couple minutes, but did say he heard a woman inside. Nobles then said, “John (Jonathon Mattingly) and I decided let’s go ahead and hit it."
This portion of the recording begins with five minutes of jurors watching body camera footage. Since we only have the audio portion there isn't a clear way to understand what they are seeing or hearing. Det. Brett Hankison begins his testimony saying he volunteered to work Mar. 13 because he is a trained K-9 handler. His dog never came out of his car that night. Hankison testifies he spoke to neighbors prior to the event and was told to stop doing so. Hankison testified officers knocked on the door despite having the no-knock warrant. A battering ram was eventually used and hit the door three time. He said his gun was out and ready and when they entered the apartment he saw saw illumination of firing and saw a figure. He described the figure as a he, but then corrected himself and said it could have been a she. He said he believed he saw a long saw large muzzle flash, believed the gun to be an AR15 or other rifle type gun. He testified he then ran through the apartment. Hankison says he heard rapid gunfire and thought "they were being executed" so he returned fire "to the muzzle flashes." He says he went outside of the apartment to get a beter angle of "the shooter." Hankison said he had a clear shot of the shooter, fired his weapon and the shooting stopped. Hankison continues his tesimony saying he called out to see if anyone was in the apartment and a man came out of the apartment with a cellphone in his hand and was handcuffed on the ground. Hankison says the man told him his girlfriend was dead and asked what was going on. Hankison went on to testify that Kenneth Walker told him that Taylor was the one shooting at police. Hankison says that when he entered the apartment he went to the spot he remembered seeing the shooter and the muzzle fire. He said that is where Breonna Taylor was slumped over.
Det. Mike Campbell is also interviewed on this recording. Campbell says he remembers knocking on the apartment door and announcing themselves. He said he was the last person in the apartment and did not see the shooter. He then talks about Mattingly being taken out of the apartment wounded and seeing officers being fired at. Campbell says he heard Walker tell police it was his girlfriend who was shooting and that they heard knocks on the door. He said there were other warrants being served that night and this was supposed to be "the easy one."
Jeff Ogg from the attorney general’s office played the interviews conducted with LMPD Lt. Shawn Hoover and Kenneth Walker for the grand jury.
More than halfway through Hoover’s account of the night of March 13, Hoover says he needs to “back up and mention” that a man emerged from the apartment above Breonna Taylor’s after Sgt. Mattingly had been shot and asked what was happening. This is the man that eventually became the only person to claim he heard the police announce.
Ogg then played the grand jury the recording of Walker’s statements made to police after his arrest the night of the shooting.
Walker said he and Taylor had dated “on-and-off” for the past seven years and one of Taylor’s former boyfriends had shown up at the apartment a couple of months before the shooting while Walker was there.
Walker said although legally licensed to carry a firearm, he had bever fired a gun “outside of a range” and was “scared to death.”
“There was another knock at the door and she’s yelling, ‘Who is It?’ and there’s still no answer, no response. When we get out of the bedroom and start walking toward the door, the door just comes off the hinges, so I just let off one shot. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a whole lot of shots.”
Walker admitted the hallway in Taylor’s apartment is long, and even if someone on the other side of the door is saying something he likely could not hear them.
Kenneth Walker was interviewed a few hours after the shooting. His interview was played for the grand jurors. Walker is asked why he told officers Taylor shot at them. He said he was scare. Walker explains his reaction to hearing banging on door. “We never had any dealings with the police, so if I would have heard at the door it was the police. It changes the whole situation. There was nothing for us to be scared of.”
He also talks about why he thought it was scary and weird that anyone was banging on the door so late at night.
“What are you going to do if you’re home with your family and somebody’s banging on the door and you don’t know who it is after asking who it is?”
Recording begins with the presentation of body camera footage from Sgt. Hogan, the leading SWAT team member who entered the apartment. He is questioned about the situation and not being able to see into an apartment. He is asked if the would shoot into a dark room through a door or window if you can't see anything and he says no.
A recorded interview with Myles Cosgrove from Sept. 18 is played. Cosgrove was the second man to enter the apartment on March 13. He testifies that Jonathon Mattingly knocked on the apartment door that night and that it was a "normal" knock. He said there was a man in the apartment above Taylor's who was on his balcony and exchanged words with Hankison.
Cosgrove then says officers began pounding on the apartment door but that he could not see any movement or lights coming on. He says he sees Mattingly go into the apartment and then begins seeing flashes, which he described like an old school movie reel moving from white to black and black to white. He said when Mattingly was shot he was at his feet and could see a large figure behind the flashes. Cosgrove said, "I'm fairly certain, I know I fired a low amount of rounds."
Det. Herman Hall interviewed neighbors and witnesses the night of March 13. He speaks with Aaron Sarpee, who doesn't live in the complex but was picking up his daughter from her babysitter's house.
Elaine Williams lives in the complex. . She heard officers say, "Reload reload. Let's, let's do what we need to do." The other officers in the back are saying "get down, get down."
Cody Etherton also lives in the complex. He told Hall he thought there were people outside fighting, and that they were trying to kick his front door. He could not hear any voices of noises before being awakened by loud noises and the sound of the door being kicked in. He says he knows for a fact he did not hear anyone say Louisville Metro Police Department, or anything prior being awake.
Det. Hall interviews a weapons specialist about how LMPD officers are trained to shoot only when they see targets and have them in their sight. Before speaking to the weapons expert, Hall recaps speaking with another witness in the apartment complex who lives behind Breonna Taylor. She recorded the event on her Facebook page and was one of the people who called in a 911 report.
Grand jurors heard a Sept. 21, interview with Steve Lacefield with the LMPD firearms division. Lacefield said all officers are trained to shoot at the threat. Lacefield also testified officers are not trained to shoot suppressively. Lacefield says officers should be assessing as they are shooting. He said, "Our training is shoot until there is no longer a threat. Whether the threat is eliminated by gunfire through injury or … the danger no longer exists."
Det. Hall arrived at the shooting scene later on the March 13. He was also questioned by the grand jury. He was asked about why body cameras weren't used that night and he did not know why. When asked if the City of Louisville had a policy regarding body cameras Hall said, "I don’t know what the city said as far as body cams go but I do know there are no body cam footage of that incident."
Hall was also asked if there was a formal plan to serve the search warrant that night. Hall was not aware of a formal plan, but was only aware of details written out on a white board. From pictures shown to the grand jury, the white board said "knock and announce." Hall was asked if that was correct and he said it was. Hall was also questioned about address. When shown a picture of the complex, Hall was asked, "Is this the springfield drive apartment 4 noted here on the white board?" Hall answered, "Yes mam this, they have the address wrong , they’ve got 3007 when it is actually 3003."
Judge Smith originally ordered the recordings be submitted Wednesday at noon; however, Cameron filed a motion Tuesday with the Jefferson Circuit Court, asking for an extension on the deadline to release the recordings. A judge granted him an extension of two days.
Cameron asked for the extension so that his office could "redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both the names and personal identifiers of any private citizen."
During the arraignment of former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison Monday, Judge Smith ordered the release of the tapes. Hankison, who pleaded not guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment, is the only officer involved in the death of Breonna Taylor to face charges -- thoght those charges are not directly tied to her death. Cameron subsequently agreed to comply with the judge's order, despite his concern that the recordings' release would compromise the ongoing federal investigation into Taylor's death.
Find our complete coverage on the Breonna Taylor case here.