breonna taylor

Cop Who Fired 16 Rounds at Breonna Taylor Said He Only Surmised That He Had Used His Gun

Drug warriors gratuitously created the chaotic situation that state prosecutors say justified the use of deadly force.

|

Myles Cosgrove, a Louisville, Kentucky, detective who participated in the fruitless and legally dubious drug raid that killed Breonna Taylor last March, told investigators the incident unfolded so quickly that he was not consciously aware of using his gun. That detail, which emerged from audio recordings of grand jury proceedings that were released on Friday, is alarming in light of the fact that Cosgrove fired 16 rounds—including the fatal bullet, according to the FBI's ballistic analysis.

"I just sensed that I've fired," Cosgrove said in an interview that was played for the grand jurors. "It's like a surreal thing. If you told me I didn't do something at that time, I'd believe you. If you told me I did do something, I'd probably believe you, too."

Cosgrove was responding to a single round fired by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who has consistently said he thought he was protecting Taylor and himself from dangerous criminals. That bullet struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in his left thigh. But Cosgrove said he was "overwhelmed with bright flashes and darkness," which led him to believe "there's still these gunshots happening due to those bright lights."

At a press conference last month, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly fired six rounds after he was hit, which may account for Cosgrove's mistaken impression that someone inside the apartment was continuing to shoot at him and his colleagues. Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove fired "almost simultaneously" at Walker and Taylor, who was unarmed but standing next to Walker "at the end of the hall."

A third officer, Detective Brett Hankison, blindly fired 10 rounds from outside the apartment, an act of recklessness that led the grand jury to charge him with three counts of wanton endangerment. Some of Hankison's rounds entered the unit behind Taylor's, which was occupied by a man, a pregnant woman, and a child. Hankison is the only officer who faces criminal charges in connection with the raid. State prosecutors concluded that the other two officers legally used deadly force in self-defense.

Cosgrove's description of the incident does not necessarily cast doubt on that conclusion, but it does underline the dangers inherent in the armed home invasions that police routinely use to enforce drug prohibition. Those dangers include not only the well-known risk that residents will mistake cops for robbers but the possibility that police will mistake their colleagues' gunfire for an assault by their targets. In such chaotic circumstances, there is also a risk that police will be injured or killed by friendly fire.

The plainclothes officers were serving a warrant based on Taylor's continued contact with an ex-boyfriend who was arrested for drug dealing the same night. They approached her apartment around 12:40 a.m. Although the warrant authorized the cops to break in without knocking or announcing themselves, they claim they did both. According to Cosgrove, they waited about 90 seconds before using a battering ram to force entry, beginning with "gentle knocking" and escalating to "forceful pounding," eventually accompanied by cries of "Police!"

Cameron accepted this account. That was an important determination, since Kentucky's law allowing the use of deadly force in defense of a dwelling makes an exception for armed resistance to a police officer who enters a home "in the performance of his or her official duties," but only if "the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a peace officer."

In an interview played for the grand jurors, Walker said he and Taylor were watching a movie in bed at the time of the raid. He said he was "scared to death" when he heard the pounding on the door, which by his reckoning lasted for 30 seconds or so. "Who is it?" he and Taylor yelled, according to his account; he said they heard no response. The New York Times reports that "11 of 12 witnesses on the scene that night said they never heard the police identify themselves," while "one of them said he heard the group say 'police' just once."

Cameron said "the officers' statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness." Last week, however, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that the "independent witness" initially said he heard no announcement. "No, nobody identify themself," he told police on March 21. When investigators talked to him again on May 15, he changed his story, saying he heard the officers announce, "This is the cops."

Whichever version you credit, it is completely plausible that Walker did not realize the armed men invading the apartment were police officers. He reported a break-in during phone calls that night, including a 911 call after the shooting in which a distraught Walker said, "I don't know what's happening. Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend." In these circumstances, it is not surprising that local prosecutors, who initially charged Walker with attempted murder of a police officer, dropped that charge in May.

In a New York magazine post, Zak Cheney-Rice says Cameron seems to have "lied multiple times" when he explained why neither Cosgrove nor Mattingly were charged in connection with Taylor's death. In addition to accepting the cops' self-serving account of what they did before using the battering ram, Cheney-Rice notes, the attorney general said "the grand jury agreed that Taylor's death was justified."

During his post-indictment press conference, Cameron said "our investigation showed, and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker" (emphasis added). But he also made it clear that his prosecutors determined that charges against Mattingly and Cosgrove were not legally viable. "According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves," he said. "This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor's death."

Since that is the way Cameron's office framed the issue, it is hardly surprising that the grand jury did not approve charges against Mattingly or Cosgrove. But it is clearly a stretch to say "the grand jury agreed" charges were inappropriate; that is what state prosecutors, who dominated the proceedings as the only legal experts who offered an opinion on the matter, told the jurors. Accepting that guidance in the absence of an alternative legal theory is not quite the same as agreeing with it.

The distinction struck at least one of the jurors as important. Last week that unnamed juror filed a motion seeking the public release of the grand jury record so that "the truth may prevail."

That truth includes not just Hankison's recklessness, which was glaring enough to justify criminal charges, but the gratuitous risks that all of the officers took that night. The Times notes that Hankison "had not anticipated a firefight" because he "expected one unarmed woman, who had no criminal record, to be home alone." In a saner world, that expectation would have cast doubt on the tactics that police decided to use, even leaving aside the weak excuse of a search warrant that was built entirely on guilt by association.

Based on scant evidence and the immoral logic of the war on drugs, these officers created the situation in which Cosgrove found himself reflexively firing 16 rounds down a dark hallway. When a terrified man had the temerity to defend himself against a bewildering home invasion, Cosgrove and his colleagues responded with overwhelming force, firing a total of 32 bullets. The legal determination that 22 of those rounds were justified should not blind us to the fact that whole operation was a travesty from beginning to end.

Advertisement

NEXT: Hydroxychloroquine Is Conspicuously Absent from Trump's COVID-19 Treatment Regimen

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The issue isn’t that the officer returned fire, the issue is that he broke into the apartment without properly identifying themselves. That’s what caused the boyfriend to open fire and the police to fire back.

    And what’s it in service of? Preventing people from destroying evidence. Not a life or death issue, just drug warriors hoping to get more convictions.

    1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

      Here’s what I do…>> Click here

    2. Yep. Yelling “Police” (Or “This is the cops” in this case) isn’t identifying yourself as police. Couple that with flashing lights from police cars, visible and obvious uniformed officers, or actually showing a badge, and now we’re talking. Any asshole can break down your door in the middle of the night saying “police” — and they’d be wearing plainclothes while doing it.

      1. “Yep. Yelling “Police” (Or “This is the cops” in this case) isn’t identifying yourself as police.”

        It is from a legal standpoint, but it shouldn’t be.

          1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me jof happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

            Here’s what I do…>>Visit Here

            1. Corona is big threat of the century which effect physically, mentally and financially/ JOR To over come these difficulties and make full use of this hostage period and make online earning.
              For more detail visit the given link…………► Visit Here

      2. Exactly.

        I would expect to see police cars with flashing lights outside my house and uniformed officers.

        Absent that, I’d need convincing identification–handed over carefully so that a home invader posing as police wouldn’t get a clear shot at me–and perhaps supplemented by a 911 call to confirm that the guys were legit.

    3. A Thinking Mind, agreed! I am glad to see more Thinking Minds out there!

      “It is a war on drugs!”

      Well, bullshit on that! Your “enemy” might get flushed down the toilet if you wait politely by the door for 5 or 10 minutes? So you HAVE to smash down doors and shoot dogs and people to prevent “evidence” from being flushed? Wait… Your so-called “enemy” is being flushed down the crapper! NOT good enough for ye?

      Logical conclusion: Your enemy is PEOPLE, not drugs!

      1. Especially when the stated objective is to get rid of drugs and drug dealers, letting them flush the drugs advances both goals: fewer drugs, and a drug dealer in debt.

        Drug warriors who refuse to understand that are like climate warriors who refuse to countenance nuclear power, or buy $14.5M mansions just above high tide. They show they don’t believe in their own cause.

    4. Not just that but they had absolutely no evidence that Breonna Taylor was involved in drug dealing. None what so ever. The judge who signed the warrant should all be looking at charges for violating Breonna Taylor’s civil rights.

      1. Yep. If you’re gonna let the cops walk, you gotta go after the higher-ups.

      2. It’s not the way it should be, but the judges who sign search warrants in most jurisdictions are just rubber stamps.

    5. That is actually not true. While the Warrant was a no-knock warrant, the police did knock according to the witnesses in the apartment building, there is conflicting testimony whether they identified themselves. Plus according to both Walker’s statement, and forensics both Walker and Taylor had time from when they heard the knocking to when the police came through the door to go out into the hallway, and Walker also had time to arm himself. So there was at least 5-10 seconds after the knocking until the door was breached.

      I’m not at all saying the shooting was justified and the police did nothing wrong, but let’s at least get the facts straight.

      1. 12 of 12 witnesses said NO. One of those 12, after further police interviews, changed his mind. His testimony is tainted.

        11 to zip say the police did not knock or announce themselves.

        1. Doesn’t really matter if the one person heard them or not. If they DID identify themselves, they did so very poorly. The fact that the boyfriend was calling 911 and telling them people broke into the apartment should really be enough evidence.

          1. That’s not very astute ‘thinking;’ if they identified themselves, it is reasonable to believe that Cosgrove & Taylor would be more likely to hear this. It is also likely that all parties have some motivation for being untruthful, Cosgrove, the police, and the neighbors.

            1. Walker not Cosgrove, damn. Edit button anyone?

        2. So one person has perjured themselves before a grand jury and the other 11 people were even in a position to hear the police?

          Every time I hear supposed facts, I see a complete lack of scientific standards applied. Do we even know if the other 11 neighbors COULD have heard police announcing themselves? Did someone actually figure out how loud their announcement was? Have we recreated the scene and determined if people were asleep, watching TV, listening to music, gaming, talking on the phone, etc?

      2. I understand what you’re saying about getting the facts straight.
        The woman was suspected of holding drugs for her boyfriend a drug dealer. No violent crime was ever alleged.
        They knew she was a woman who had a job.
        All they had to do was wait outside the door when she left for work and grab her as she walked to her car.
        Facts of the case don’t justify smashing in the door in the middle of the night.

    6. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make Abq me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

      Here’s what I do…>>Visit Here

    7. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me Abw happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

      Here’s what I do…>>Visit Here

    8. It was a no knock warrant. Pay attention. Whether or they announced their presence is irrelevant. In any event there was a complete overreaction by the police. Jscob is right, they created the war zone atmosphere. All of this over Marijuana. Its ridiculous.

    9. The issue is they “expected one unarmed woman, who had no criminal record, to be home alone” yet still got a no-knock warrant which was executed in the middle of the night.

      If that is truly what they were expecting they could easily have knocked at 7 PM and put a reverse viewer in the peephole if there was one. They would then have seen someone approach the door and the whole thing could have been resolved in a calm rational manner.

      The whole thing about preventing people from destroying evidence is BS. Nobody flushes drugs on just any knock unless it’s a full on drug processing house, wouldn’t be expected from a single woman home alone. The reverse viewers do a fine job of allowing them to see if the person coming to the door is armed or if the resident tried looking through the peephole and is now rushing to destroy evidence since they couldn’t see out.

      1. Nobody flushes drugs except…all those people who throw drugs out the car window during chases? And Fentanyl Floyd who decided to ingest his drugs to hide their presence? And all the people who come up with asinine ways of concealing evidence?

        We’re all on the same page here about drug legalization but I don’t agree with your assumptions about criminal behavior.

        1. You’re making an assumption that the “flusher”, “tosser”, etc. knows it’s the cops. Do people throw drugs out the car window just because the same car has been behind them in heavy stop & go traffic in downtown LA for 30 minutes (what a couple miles at rush hour)? Nope. Do they flush drugs every time the Jehovahs knock? I think not.

          I’ll conceed that we agree on decriminalization but I don’t agree with your assumptions of criminal behavior either.

          1. At least from all the Cops and Live PD I’ve watched, yeah, they definitely know it’s the cops, which is why they were running in the first place and why I described it as a chase.

    10. Google paid for all online work from home from $ 16,000 to $ 32,000 a month. The younger brother was out of Aby work for three months and a month ago her check was $ 32475, working at home for 4 hours a day, and earning could be even bigger….So I started……Visit Here

    11. I have received $17634 last month from home by working online in my part time. I am a full time student Abe and doing this easy home based work for 3 to 4 hrs a day. FVG.This job is very simple to do and its regular earnings are much better than any other office type work.
      See detail here…………Visit Here

  2. Yeah, obviously the cop saw the other cop get shot and panicked.

    But the problem is the nature of the warrant and how it was served.

    Breaking in at 12:40 am when working people are in bed means they won’t be able to answer the door immediately. Someone in bed, waking up will almost certainly grab a gun thinking it’s home invaders

    The other thing is that it’s weird there were only 3 cops. I managed to get an even dozen searching my place for just buying cold medicine.

    1. Breaking in at 12:40 am when working people are in bed means they won’t be able to answer the door immediately. Someone in bed, waking up will almost certainly grab a gun thinking it’s home invaders

      Sorry, but most people hearing knocking on their door late at night will assume that it’s someone having an emergency, not a home invasion. And if someone breaks down my front door, my first reaction isn’t to engage in a gunfight with them, but rather to escape through the fire escape or back door.

      1. Your reaction = “suck cop dicks & the dicks of ALL home invaders at all costs”. THIS is why Stalin ran amok on the USSR for many decades! Not enough people SHOT BACK at the assholes, or rammed some broken shards of glass into their throats, or RESISTED in any way! “Do as the boss says” gets you slavery, in this context!

          1. One unique aspect of the case is that both Breonna’s boyfriend and the cops were judged by the law to be acting in self-defense.

            1. But not judged in any definitive way. In both cases, it wasn’t so much a judgment of self defense as it was a judgment that there was no *provable* crime. The prosecutor looked at what he had and decided he didn’t have enough evidence to overcome the reasonable proposition that Walker was firing in self defense. Then he showed the grand jury just enough potentially exculpatory evidence for Cosgrove and Mattingly that he was able to convince them not to indict.

      2. Ringing the door bell = someone having an emergency. Maybe knocking politely if you just want to borrow the phone. In other words, things that would be easy to miss if you’re sleeping.

        Pounding on the door loudly enough to wake me up, however, is someone trying to break the door down. Note, by the way, that Walker called 911, not something you do when you think it’s a stranger having an emergency.

        And while your first reaction may be cowardice, many of the rest of us think first about protecting our loved ones. Also worth noting is that almost no apartments have a back door or external fire escape these days.

        1. Midnight visit of any kind spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e, and you’d best approach that door cautiously. You claim most people think kindly of their visitor and want to help them. Everyone else says the opposite. Since neither has proof or statistical studies, we’ll have to go by the comments here, and you lose.

        2. I can definitely see pounding on the door as someone having an emergency. But in order to look like someone having an emergency, it also needs to be accompanied by someone yelling things that would indicate that there was an emergency and probably the nature of that emergency. “Call an ambulance, my dad is having a heart attack out here!” “Call the police, my friend has been stabbed!”

  3. “That detail, which emerged from audio recordings of grand jury proceedings that were released on Friday”

    So the real story is that grand jury proceedings are no longer secret.
    I don’t suppose Sullum will bother to go into the implications of that on the court system.

    1. …..

      That is literally standard operating procedure.

      The real story is that police run rampant on our rights. Every. Damn. Day. Everything else is a distraction.

      1. See: United States v. Procter & Gamble Co., 356 US 677 (1958) since you are so interested in how our court system responds to precedent.

        1. ‘Every. Damn. Day.’ Needs more hyperbole, maybe try it with all caps?

      2. That is literally standard operating procedure.

        You better go tell every SCOTUS for the last half-century.

        1. SCOTUS is unlikely to get involved in a breach of grand jury secrecy from a state grand jury.

          Federal grand jury secrecy is fairly rigorously enforced by the federal courts from what I’ve seen, but state level grand jury secrecy is Swiss cheese.

          1. Federal grand jury secrecy is fairly rigorously enforced by the federal courts from what I’ve seen, but state level grand jury secrecy is Swiss cheese.

            So, either their is no SOP or the SOP is secrecy for most courts at both the state and federal level with exceptions in a few places.

            1. At the state level, grand jury proceedings are nominally supposed to be secret, but in most states they leak like a sieve and leaks are seldom punished. There are a handful of states that do better.

    2. Not to say it was/is right, but maybe grand jury proceedings shouldn’t be secret in situations of police acting in an official capacity, especially when there is a clear conflict of interest. Or, at a minimum, the investigation and proceedings should be done by an outside, independent third party.

      The details from this are making it abundantly clear the DA’s office deserves closer scrutiny in situations of possible police misconduct.

      1. Grand juries don’t/can’t deprive anyone of their rights , so no reason to make their testimony public.

        1. No, they don’t/can’t do the depriving, they can just rubber stamp the actions of those who did.

  4. >>unfolded so quickly that he was not consciously aware of using his gun

    ran across some x 20 years ago that had the same effects

    1. Adrenochrome is one hell of a drug.

      1. “… it’s no good if you get it out of a corpse.”

  5. Drug warriors gratuitously created the chaotic situation that state prosecutors say justified the use of deadly force.

    Hard as that may for you to believe, Sullum, but the officer is a human being who likely feels horribly about having killed another human being in self-defense, after being shot at.

    These officers already tried to avoid the situation by knocking and announcing themselves despite having a no-knock warrant. What exactly should he have done differently? Refused to serve any drug warrants at all? Not shoot back when shot at? Come on, Sullum, tell us with your superior intellect what an actual human being should do in that situation!

    Articles in Reason are getting nastier and devoid of rational analysis every day.

    1. changes in methodology of serving drug warrants warranted maybe.

      1. Hey! You got libertarianism in Reason’s outrage porn wankfest!

      2. Maybe doing it in daylight and while wearing a clearly marked uniform and driving a marked police car. This is not a situation that merits breaking down the door.

        1. this is what I was thinking yes.

      3. Police on the ground can’t “change the methodology of serving drug warrants”. That’s done by legislatures, local government, and the police chief.

        Sullum isn’t making that argument, he is blaming the police officers who have to execute those warrants according to the methodology set by the department and expressing surprise that those police officers have trouble dealing with the consequences.

        1. Just commenting on the comments. If your argument is w/Sullum cool I was just answering “have done differently”

        2. These officers aren’t the guilty party, but the department as a whole is. They’ve established these policies and wanted to launch this massive coordinated drug raid with multiple teams breaking into multiple houses, and they decided that plainclothes officers knocking twice and then breaking down the door is being reasonable.

          1. “the department as a whole is”

            More the city council and also whoever approves the department’s policies and procedures.

          2. Right.

            They applied for the warrant. “I was just following orders!” rings a little hollow when you specifically asked for those orders.

            Every cop on scene had the ability to go “this smells fishy” and stop what they were doing before shit hit the fan. They didn’t want to go through that trouble, and someone died as a result. Charging them with murder is a bit much, but so is treating them like saints.

            1. This may come as a surprise to you, but most people’s contempt for a drug dealer is somewhere between a pedophile and a pimp. That’s why most people don’t have a problem with these kinds of warrants. And Taylor was clearly involved with the drug dealer.

              1. This may come as a surprise to you, but most people do indeed have a problem with these kind of poorly researched and poorly executed warrants. Your argument only holds water for real druggies, and this is not one of those. Thus the outrage which you attempt to misdirect.

                1. Your argument only holds water for real druggies, and this is not one of those.

                  Taylor was receiving packages for a drug dealer. What exactly do you think is “poorly researched/executed” about that?

                  Thus the outrage which you attempt to misdirect.

                  As I was saying, you are free to direct your outrage at your fellow citizens, legislators, and elected officials who make these decisions; the job of police is to implement those laws as written, using the authority they have been given.

                  1. “Taylor was receiving packages for a drug dealer.”

                    So the cops claimed in the warrant application.

                    The drug dealer (an ex-boyfriend of Taylor) has stated that this is not true.

                    That I am aware of the cops have presented no real evidence to back this claim, and the search of her apartment found nothing.

                    1. If the cops had evidence of that claim, they could have taken that evidence to the local Postal Inspector and said, “Hey, this apartment is receiving drugs sent through the mail. Help us out here, so we can nail the receiver and you can bag the sender.”

                      And even if she was “receiving packages for a drug dealer,” a warrant should require some sort of evidence that there might be drugs in those packages. I haven’t heard any evidence that was presented to that effect.

              2. Most people are illogical and think with their emotions rather than their brains.

                Libertarian 101: Pedophiles prey on unwilling victims. Pimps (mostly) do, too. These are ‘malum in se’ crimes, wrong in and of themselves. The act of a voluntary transaction between consenting adults, however, involves no unwilling ‘victim’ and thus is a ‘malum prohibitum’ offense – wrong merely because the state says so.

                Do these righteously outraged folks feel the same level of contempt toward their local liquor store owner or tobacconist? Hell, how about the local doctor or pharmacist? All are literal drug dealers who profit from selling potent, pure and potentially lethal drugs, so why not? Because they’re state-sanctioned?

                Considering the size of the trillion dollar+ black market substances economy, I’d bet most of us are at least tangentially involved with drug dealers more frequently than we’d reckon. That still doesn’t justify a random death sentence. Nor does it excuse tactics or ‘cures’ that are not only hugely wasteful and ultimately ineffectual, but far worse than the stated ‘disease.’

                1. I agree that in a libertarian society, voluntary transactions would be legal. What do you think that implies about how we live here today?

                  (1) We don’t live in a libertarian society, we live in a society that has many laws, many of them unjust and harmful. However, to coexist peacefully, we agree to obey all those laws, not just the ones we personally agree with. Changing unjust laws requires going through the legislature.

                  (2) One particular unjust law, income tax, is far more reprehensible from a libertarian point of view, since it interferes with a beneficial activity necessary for survival, while drug laws at least only interfere with harmful activities that are not necessary.

                  (3) Actual drug dealers do far more than just engage in harmless voluntary transactions.

                  (4) Taylor wasn’t handed a “death sentence”, she was killed accidentally during the execution of a valid search warrant. That’s a risk all of us take in our society; live with it and act accordingly.

                  You want drug legalization? Go through the legislature to change the laws. Until then, obey them or face the consequences. And like taxes and COVID, we all face the risk of getting shot by the police; live with it or change those laws too.

              3. “Most” people want free shit and Medicare for all.

                Live by the populist sword, die by the populist sword.

                Good to have you aboard, comrade.

        3. re: Police on the ground can’t “change the methodology of serving drug warrants”

          Sure they can. No legislature created the methodology used by these cops. No local court said that whispering “This is the cops” is the way they should identify themselves. Police are rightly granted considerable deference in deciding how to do their jobs. The corollary is that they are (or should be) entirely accountable for the results of those decisions.

          And, yes, I am equating the police officers with “the department”. The idea of institutional blame is anathema. Humans made the decisions. Humans are responsible. “I was just following orders” is not a valid defense.

          1. I was just following orders” is not a valid defense.

            What do you think they need a “defense” from? Most people have no problem with police going after drug dealers, drug dealers that destroy lives and commit violence while enriching themselves. That’s true even for people who (like myself) are generally in favor of legalizing drugs.

            1. The police were NOT going after drug dealers. Their warrant was shoddy, their execution shoddy, their coverup disgraceful. Most people do indeed have problems with fuckups like this, which are all too common.

              1. Their warrant was shoddy, their execution shoddy, their coverup disgraceful.

                Their warrant was both legally valid and justified under the laws we have, they announced themselves multiple times, and there was no coverup because there was nothing to cover up.

                1. It was not. Their warrant was based on zero actual evidence. Guilt by association is not reasonable cause.

                  1. Taylor was receiving packages for her drug dealing ex-boyfriend. That’s not just “association”. That was sufficient justification for a judge to grant a search warrant.

                    1. “She’s getting packages for her ex-boyfriend, who happens to be a drug dealer” is not probable cause.

                      Nobody ever asked if they could have a legitimate package sent to a friend’s house because they were going to be out of town, or because they haven’t gotten situated in their new place yet, or because they live in a neighborhood where the package will get stolen the minute the Amazon driver turns his back, or because they’re getting a package that needs to be signed for and it’s going to arrive while they’re at work. Oh, wait, I’ve had people ask me to accept legitimate packages in all these situations, and asked people to do so in a couple as well.

                      So yes, that is *just* “association”. Probable cause would require evidence that 1) such packages might contain contraband (other than the mere fact that the person receiving the package is an alleged drug dealer – I’m pretty sure drug dealers buy stuff from Amazon too), and 2) that such potentially contraband containing packages might reasonably be expected to be in the place to be searched. How many packages were being delivered, and how often? Is there a pattern of timing between delivery and pickup? Has a Postal Inspector given you information about where the packages were coming from? All of these are questions that should either be answered in the request for a warrant, or asked by the judge if they aren’t.

                2. RTFA. The cops did NOT announce themselves multiple times. 11 out of 12 witnesses outside the apartment did not hear them. 1 witness also said he didn’t hear this announcement initially, but changed his story after more police interviews. That sounds to me like there was no clearly audible announcement, and one case of (successful) witness tampering.

            2. Right, like there was no other option for “going after” this guy. Couldn’t serve the warrant during the day. Couldn’t stake out the place. Just two examples.

              1. It was part of a larger raid with surveillance putting her in frequent contact with the drug enterprise. Overall it would have been safer for all involved to go forward as a no knock rather than change up at the last minute.

        4. They *asked* for the no knock warrant. They *chose* to serve it at 12:40am. Neither of these choices were required. And they *chose* to break the door down after only 90 seconds (according to their testimony), despite the high likelihood the residents were sleeping when they started knocking. And, let’s be honest, the likelihood they actually announced themselves is close to zero, since the only witness who said they did originally said they didn’t. Not announcing themselves was also a choice.

          All those poor choices are on the officers involved. (If there are other officers who made some of those decisions, they should also be held accountable).

          If i was on that grand jury, i would have pointed out the prosecutor’s blatant attempt to clear the cops, the obviously tainted witness, and voted to indict all three of them. I’d also have demanded an indictment of their supervising officer and the judge who signed the warrant.

    2. If you want to cowboy up in the utter failure of being a drug warrior to the point you’re willingly kicking down doors don’t be surprised when the occupants start shooting. Guess posting a cop outside to wait for him to come and go then grab him was more risky? You’ve got to be pretty determined to stop free will to be stupid enough to kick in doors trying to stop it.

    3. What exactly should he have done differently?

      Not gotten a warrant for someone’s home they had absolutely no evidence of having committed a crime. Receiving packages is not a crime – full stop. Maybe the cops should build a case first, by I don’t know, intercepting one of the packages and taking a peak.

      1. They already had a statement from the USPS there was nothing suspicious. Then they lied about it to get the warrant.

      2. Receiving packages is not a crime – full stop.

        Receiving packages on behalf of a drug dealer, however, is a crime and is sufficient cause for a search warrant.

        1. It is not. Being an alleged drug dealer does not make the act of receiving any package a criminal offense.

          1. But it does provide probable cause for a search warrant under our current laws.

            Innocent people get searched by police, and innocent people get killed by police, and that’s an inevitable consequence of having any kind of law enforcement at all.

            1. Not by any reasonable definition of probable cause. Most people get mail, including packages, and many people who aren’t criminals have their mail delivered to friends, family members, their workplace, and other places that aren’t their residence. So I don’t think you’d be able to find lot of people who would agree that being an alleged drug dealer who gets his mail at his (apparently amicably parted) ex-girlfriend’s place means that it’s likely that he’s getting drugs through the mail.

    4. I hope Kyle Rittenhouse gets a law enforcement job, because he certainly has more trigger discipline that the cops on this raid. He only fired 3 shots, each one as a response to a separate attack, where as these 3 cops fired a total of 32 shots, mostly at random targets.

      1. Your use of the word “targets” was generous.

      2. At least one had a target and hit it with at least one round out of 16 – but this target wasn’t the guy who fired at the cop. If I’d been on the grand jury, I might have argued that issuing guns to three cops so poorly trained was negligent homicide by the police chief and whatever committee supervises the department.

    5. Hard as it may be for you to believe, but a lot of people figure any cop who signs up for SWAT or drug raids is looking for action, excitement, and glory. He may not hope he can kill somebody, but he sure won’t be all torn up if it happens.

    6. All witnesses deny they knocked and announced themselves. You’re first premise fails. Try again.

    7. The inclusion of Walker’s statement of his recollection of the time, whether or not he had fired, serves no purpose from a civil liberties standpoint. It does however allow for finger-pointing and tut-tutting before descending into emotional, not rational reaction. ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ is endemic, but arguing from and for non-libertarian stances is odd and counterintuitive.

      1. After an inadequate investigation, the cops put themselves into a situation where they were firing in blind panic. Is there a better argument for many fewer laws, enforced by fewer and better cops?

  6. Bad laws Bad training To bad BLM destroyed the momentum for people to actually do something by making it a racist issue.

  7. Apparently, Wolfe City Police tased and then shot an unarmed security guard who intervened in a public domestic dispute.

    Too bad shithole yellow journalist rags like Reason jumped all over the “Jacob Blake was just breaking up a fight.” narrative and alerting us all to the invconvenient hog-tieing in CO. The way they fall for or just run with the false narrative in the shittiest of cases and then fail to report pretty clear cut cases of police misconduct, you’d almost think they were fomenting dissent rather than advocating reform.

    1. Divisive cases involving Al Sharpton are more fun to report.

  8. I don’t normally have qualified immunity, but when I do, I always empty the mag..

    Stay healthy my friends..

  9. We shouldn’t have police serving no-knock warrants, for exactly the reason seen here.

    The grand jury result, nevertheless, is the correct one. When cops carry out a legally-issued warrant in a legal manner, they shouldn’t be prosecuted for defending themselves after being fired upon. Whether the cops announced themselves or not is immaterial as to whether they should be prosecuted, because they had a no-knock warrant.

    1. It wasn’t a legal warrant. It was a rubber stamp on wishful thinking. The judge who signed it should also be prosecuted. There was no reasonable suspicion of a crime, ergo, the warrant was not legal. (And if the judge had actually read it, he’d have known that).

      And the grand jury was clearly a joke. The DA wasn’t trying to get any of the cops indicted. Should have been conducted independently by someone other than the DA. (Really, that should be standard procedure whenever cops are suspected of committing a crime).

      1. So all the related raids that same night were also invalid? Or is it this one because of the consequences. Like it or not she was part of the drug operation or at least appeared to be from surveilance.

        1. The related raids may or may not have been justified – I haven’t seen any good reporting on what evidence was used to obtain those warrants. For this one, though, “person gets some/all of their mail at someone else’s address” doesn’t seem to me to be probable cause to search that someone else’s home without some further evidence that the mail being received contains contraband. But there wasn’t any evidence of contraband in the mail. In fact, there’s evidence to the contrary. The Postal Inspectors’ office in Louisville had looked at the mail going to the residence and determined that there was nothing suspicious about it.

  10. Cops are authoritarian assholes who choose to take a job knowing that they will enforce bullshit laws with a gun.

    But that doesn’t make them the “root cause” of the problem. It’s the assholes who hire them to enforce bullshit laws.

    Which ultimately means “WE” are the problem.

    But it’s more convenient to blame the cops than the rioters who hired them.

    1. “The real triumph of the state occurs when its subjects refer to it as “we,” like football fans talking about the home team.” ― Joseph Sobran

      1. No, I think the real triumph of the state is: it’s got nothing to do with us, it’s just those assholes in city hall.

        Whether it gung ho drug warriors, bureaucrats running citation revenue farms of their citizens, or prosecutors, mayors, and police that let rioters, looters, and revolutionary anarchist go wild in the streets they are doing it with our authority both express and implied. And we either need to pull back on that authority, or find someone else to apply it properly.

        1. What do you propose I do? You act as if there are people running for office that are in complete agreement with me on everything. News flash: those people don’t exist.

  11. “The great masses of men, though theoretically free, are seen to submit supinely to oppression and exploitation of a hundred abhorrent sorts. Have they no means of resistance? Obviously they have. The worst tyrant, even under democratic plutocracy, has but one throat to slit. The moment the majority decided to overthrow him he would be overthrown. But the majority lacks the resolution; it cannot imagine taking the risks.” ~ H. L. Mencken (1926). “Notes on Democracy,” p. 50, Alfred A. Knopf
    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

    1. Solzhenitsyn’s works are incredible. I think of The Gulag Archipelago every time some ignorant yutz moons on about real socialism, or social ‘justice,’ or the green new deal.

  12. The only reason Hankison was charged was because he could have hit another cop. Had all his rounds gone into the adjacent apartment it would have been overlooked.

  13. If your plan is to participate in a shoot out when someone breaks your door in, you will probably get shot.

    A better plan would be having the police inform 911 operators of their intentions and the homeowner arm himself with a phone as well to determine if those breaking in are actually police.

    Police uniforms are easy to obtain.

    1. So, when you go to inform the 911 operators, do you tell them the address where the suspect actually is, the address where you’re going to go kick in doors, or the address that’s on the warrant?

  14. “Drug warriors”

    Like Joe Biden, author of the 1994 Joe Biden Crime Bill, and responsible for making crack cocaine worth 10 times the sentencing of flake.

  15. From the AP story that covered the audio recording of grand jury testimony that was released –

    “Police interviews with Taylor’s neighbors didn’t clear up the confusion. Two neighbors said they didn’t hear the police knocking. One of them also said he was certain he didn’t hear police identify themselves. Another man gave three differing accounts — in two of them saying he heard officers identify themselves.”

    So apparently witnesses weren’t reliable. Even Walker admitted that he heard knocks. One witness said something like “they shot a drug dealing girl”

    Walker also allegedly told one of the officers that it was Taylor who actually fired the first shot and then changed his story. He also said it was possible that he didn’t hear the cops identify themselves because he was too far away from the door.

    It’s not in dispute that they knocked several times. Walker says he and Taylor kept yelling at the knockers to identify themselves, so it’s also probably true that they knocked and waited 45 seconds to a minute. If you believe Walker’s side of the story, the cops just kept on knocking for a minute without ever having identified himself, but he also says he might not have heard them because he was too far away.

    Only one witness ever came outside AS the cops were knocking and Taylor is dead. So there’s not enough evidence to prove either side wrong. I suspect that Walker and Taylor were half asleep and didn’t hear the reply, and Taylor was possibly yelling at the door and her boyfriend, something “Are your friends here”. There was likely some commotion that prevented a communication on both sides.

    1. Knocking and saying you’re the police doesn’t make it true.

  16. Regardless of any other issue, if the cop is incompetent enough to be unaware of using his weapon, he had no business carrying one.

  17. The real criminal here is the detective that ordered the raid at midnight. It’s my understanding that they were just going to the house to collect evidence that her ex boyfriend may have left behind. So why go in the middle of the night when most people are sleeping? It just makes no sense. I don’t know about the rest of you. But if a bunch of men came pounding on my door at midnight, I just might shoot them. If they would have come the next day at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm 1:00 pm, or whatever, most people would probably just answer the door.

    Just a thought.

  18. I have heard in some reports, she was named on the search warrant due to several recorded phone calls between her and her imprisoned dealer/ex, regarding alleged conduct of further business on his behalf. I cannot vouch for the claim’s validity, but if true, it seems semi-reasonable that Law & Order LLC might direct their suspicions her way. None of this, obviously, excuses the very thoroughly botched attempt at enforcement of current law by Law & Order LLC.

Please to post comments