Breonna Taylor was given no medical aid as she lay dying in her apartment for up to six minutes after police fatally shot her, new court documents say.
The 26-year-old emergency room technician died in the early hours of March 13 when Louisville Police used a battering ram to break into her home, shooting her at least eight times.
The plaincloths officers had been carrying out a no-knock search warrant at the young woman’s home as part of a drugs investigation, although no drugs were found in her home.
Now, new court documents provide a detailed account of how the White police officers killed Breonna. Filed by her family, the complaint maintains the officers did not identify themselves upon entering Breonna’s apartment.
This in turn led to her partner Kenneth Walker shooting at the officers, believing them to be intruders, and ultimately hitting one in the leg, the lawsuit claims. The officers returned fire, with five bullets striking Breonna.
The gunfire began at 12.42am, according to the first of several 911 calls by neighbours. The death certificate lists Breonna’s time of death as ‘approximately 12.48’. The 31-page complaint says this shows Breonna was dying for up to six minutes after the fatal shooting.
‘In the six minutes that elapsed from the time Breonna was shot to the time she died, we have no evidence suggesting that any officer made entry in an attempt to check and assist her,’ Sam Aguiar, the family’s lawyer, told The New York Times. ‘She suffered.’
State officials reject this claim, saying the officers worked as fast as they could, first leaving the apartment to tend to the injured officer before calling for Walker to come out with his hands up.
According to a detailed log kept by emergency personnel, the injured officer, Jon Mattingly, was loaded into an ambulance and left the property at 12.53am. Walker exited the apartment one minute later.
Only then, officials said, could paramedics enter the apartment to tend to Breonna, who at this point had already succumbed to her multiple injuries. Officials also allege the police didn’t know Breonna was injured since the shooting happened in near darkness.
When asked about Breonna’s time of death and the six-minute delay, the coroner who performed the autopsy said her deputy who logged the death certificate hadn’t been shown how to read autopsy reports. Her office has declined to make the report public.
The coroner, Dr. Barbara Weakley-Jones, went on to claim Breonna was likely to have died in ‘less than a minute’, adding: ‘Even if it had happened outside of an ER we couldn’t have saved her.’
But the family’s lawyer laid out a series of alleged violations he said caused the young woman’s death, including the fact that no ambulance was on site on standby at the time of the raid; something that is ‘common practice’ during high-risk warrants, according to Jessie Halladay, an LMPD spokesperson.
That wasn’t the only violation laid out in the lawsuit, which pointed out that police relied on stale intelligence to execute their no-knock search warrant. The complaint also claims law enforcement mistook Breonna’s car, parked outside her apartment at the time of the raid, for that of a drug dealer they were hunting.
Breonna’s killing led to widespread outcry, with her story used to highlight police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
The other two officers, John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have only been placed on administrative leave. No charges have been brought and no arrests have been made.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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