Attorneys Accuse Louisville Mayor and Police of Cover-up Amid Delays in Breonna Taylor Death Investigation

The attorneys for Breonna Taylor's family this week accused Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Metro Police Department of covering up information in the investigation into Taylor's death, which allegedly resulted in delays in the case.

In a press release sent to several Louisville media outlets Tuesday morning, the family's legal team said police "unlawfully denied several open records requests" and alleged the mayor's administration has been "the least transparent, the slowest and the most frustrating" of all U.S. cities in its handling of recent police violence involving black Americans.

"We present this information so that the public is able to see the lengths that the city will go to in order to withhold the truth and keep [Taylor's mother] from learning the facts surrounding her daughter's murder," the release said.

Ben Crump, who is involved in a handful of current cases involving violence against black Americans, is representing Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, as are attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker.

The legal team said in the release the Louisville coroner's office, the mayor and the police department's merit review board were all days late in meeting deadlines to provide autopsy results, personnel files for the officers involved in Taylor's shooting death and government communications regarding the investigation.

Breonna Taylor memorial
Protesters gather around a memorial for Breonna Taylor on what would have been her 27th birthday on June 5, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Attorneys for Taylor's family this week distributed a press release to local media outlets accusing Mayor Greg Fischer's office and the Louisville Metro Police Department of contributing to a cover-up in the investigation into Taylor's death. Brett Carlsen/Getty

"For months, we have pursued the truth surrounding what took place leading up to, during and following the murder of Breonna Taylor. And for months, LMPD and Mayor Fischer have covered it up," the release said.

Louisville police used a no-knock warrant to enter 26-year-old Taylor's apartment in the early hours of March 13. The officers were conducting a narcotics investigation at the time, though no drugs were found inside Taylor's apartment. Taylor's partner shot a gun at the officers, whom he later said he believed were intruders. Taylor was fatally shot as police returned fire.

Progress on the investigation into Taylor's death has received extensive media coverage in recent weeks as protesters took to the streets in the U.S. and around the world to demand an end to violence against black Americans and widespread policing reform. Though the protests began in response to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody, Taylor's case and other recent incidents between black Americans and law enforcement have similarly become rallying cries within the protest movement.

Before the protests began, Palmer filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April alleging police had no reason to serve a search warrant at Taylor's apartment. The legal team's press release said that the civil lawsuit was filed because of a "lack of transparency" from police after the team's open records requests were denied.

More recently, the attorneys said that while they are still waiting for the coroner's results and the personnel files of the involved police officers, those documents have already been sent to the city's legal counsel.

"This administration simply believes it is above the law," the release said.

Fischer's office did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment in time for publication.

The attorneys also slammed the city's decision thus far to keep employed the officers who were at Taylor's apartment the night she died. While the attorneys pointed to examples of officers who have faced termination or criminal charges after recent accusations of violence against black Americans in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Brunswick, the same is not true of the Louisville officers.

In its conclusion, the release called on Louisville police officers to share what they know about Taylor's death and "hold your officers accountable."

"Your honesty and decision to speak out against these actions and against racism will help rebuild this city and unite us all," the release said in its short address to Louisville police. "Please take these critical first steps and trust our community to respond favorably."