Newly released audio recordings from grand jury proceedings describe conflicting testimony over what happened in the leadup to Breonna Taylor’s death.
In the tapes, released on Friday, Louisville police officers claim they announced themselves as police before the botched raid that led to Taylor’s death. Their testimony conflicts with that of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said he got no response from officers when he heard them knocking at the door.
“Banged on the door—no response. Banged on it again—no response,” says Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in one of the tapes. “At that point, we started announcing ourselves.”
In one recording, officer Shawn Hoover says he believes Walker and Taylor were aware police were at their door. “In my opinion, we were ambushed,” Hoover says. “They knew we were there. Hell, the neighbors knew we were there upstairs. They were coming out to see.”
Walker, meanwhile, disputed officers’ claims. He says he grabbed his gun when he got no response after asking, “Who is it?” He says the two were watching a movie in the dark when the knocking began, and Taylor was asking “at the top of her lungs” who was at the door, the New York Times reports.
Walker added that he and Taylor were walking to the door when he saw it go off its hinges. Officers then busted the door open, and Walker fired one shot back. The officers returned fire with 32 bullets.
“All of a sudden, there’s a whole lot of shots,” Walker says in the tapes.
“Next thing I know, she’s on the ground and the door’s busted open and I hear a bunch of yelling and just panicking,” he says. “And she’s right here bleeding. And nobody’s coming, and I’m just confused and scared.”
After the shooting, Walker says, an officer told him that he was going to jail for the rest of his life and asked him, “Were you hit by any bullets?”
Walker said that when he replied, “No,” the officer responded by saying, “That’s unfortunate.”
Last week grand jurors indicted Brett Hankison, one of three officers involved in the shooting, on three counts of wanton endangerment. He was not arrested in connection to Taylor’s death but for recklessly firing his gun into a neighboring apartment during the raid. Thousands of people across the country protested the lack of charges.
The audio, which typically remains a secret, was released to give the public a look into the evidence that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented in the case, BuzzFeed reports.
“I’m confident that once the public listens to the recordings, they will see that our team presented a thorough case to the Jefferson County Grand Jury,” Cameron said in a statement following the audio’s release.
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