Newly released footage from the scene of Breonna Taylor's murder, taken by police body cameras, was released this weekend, raising questions with investigators. Vice News obtained hours of footage from the Louisville Metro Police Department, singling out one clip from immediately after police killed Taylor. It shows officers breaking their department's policies and casting doubt on the integrity of the crime scene.
The newly publicized video shows a group of officers screaming instructions at Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, on the scene, threatening him with a barking dog if he did not comply. According to Vice News, this video shows officers violating their department's standards and procedures — particularly the rule that all officers involved in a critical incident must be paired with an escort officer and separated the scene to ensure accountability. The officers were supposed to be "isolated from all non-essential individuals for the remainder of the initial investigation" but were not. A former LMPD narcotics officer reviewed the footage and was shocked by this breach.
"I've never said anything like this," they said. "This isn't how it's supposed to work."
The video shows Detectives Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Campbell and Lieutenant Shawn Hoover prowling the crime scene freely with their guns drawn, despite the rule mandating that they be escorted. Two others — Detectives Mike Nobles and Tony James — reportedly left the scene to accompany Sgt. Jon Mattingly to the hospital.
The footage later shows Hankison breaking protocol further by re-entering Taylor's apartment, despite the protests of SWAT team members. He lingers, asking questions until a SWAT officer sternly orders him to clear out "until they get [the Public Integrity Unit] in here." Hankison later approaches a SWAT member, asks if his bodycam is on, and the video cuts out.
"It should be noted investigators later learned Detective Hankison deviated from standard LMPD practices for an officer involved in a critical incident and left the scene location without his assigned LMPD Peer Support escort," reads the LMPD report, which was also just made public this weekend. "Hankison deviated from the standard protocol when he traveled unattended to University of Louisville Hospital having contact with CID command and Police Chief Steve Conrad."
In interviews after the fact, some officers on the scene recalled questioning why Hankison and the others were not separated as protocol dictates, but no action was ever taken. Vice has published two of the clips they see as critical to this investigation, as the nation continues trying to make sense of Taylor's senseless murder.