Members of Louisville’s Metro Police Department will be required to wear body cameras after the death of Breonna Taylor, a decorated EMT, who was fatally shot by police while she slept in her apartment on March 13.
Taylor was shot eight times.
On Monday Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced officers in plainclothes will now have to wear the devices during search warrants, according to the AP. Prior to Taylor’s death, officers were allowed to enter private property without announcing their arrival with a warrant that was signed off by a local judge. The new directive now states that the standing police chief will also have to sign off on such warrants.
Kenneth Walker, her boyfriend, fired at officers, striking one in the leg as cops fired into the apartment. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month, claiming police stormed the apartment in a botched narcotics raid after the man who was at the center of the raid was in police custody prior to the shooting.
Critics of the LMPD have continuously asked for a timeline to uncover the events on that fateful morning when cops rushed into Taylor’s apartment with a battering ram on the basis of a no-knock warrant. Without camera footage it is nearly impossible to piece together what happened in the final moments of Taylor’s life.
Body cameras became a focal point after the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb outside of St. Louis. However, body cameras, dash cam video and footage captured by bystanders have rarely led to justice in a multitude of police-involved shootings, including the shooting death of Tamir Rice, the mysterious death of Sandra Bland, and the illegal choke-hold which lead to the death of Eric Garner.
Hopefully Mayor Fischer’s new directive will prevent the pain of another family suffering over the senseless loss of life cut way too short. The unlearning of complicit racial bias coupled with effective de-escalation training is the only way to escape such horrors.