Fired Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad was initially given incorrect details about the tragic shooting death of Breonna Taylor, as was revealed last week by a local television outlet. Now, an examination of Conrad’s statements he provided to Louisville Metro Police Department officials highlights he was told that Taylor was armed, but seemingly admitted that report was false.
A report regarding a March meeting Conrad took with the LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, which oversees officer-related shootings and in-custody deaths, details the event that was held five days after Taylor was shot dead. First reported by local station WDRB, Conrad relied on the accounts of his commanders, parroting those statements to the unit over the course of 21 minutes.
The Louisville Courier-Journal obtained further details and filed suit to gain access to the LMPD’s investigative file with more of Conrad’s comments seeing light, beginning last week with WDRB’s reporting. Based on early observation, it appears that Conrad didn’t push to learn more about his officers’ accounts of the shooting and took their word for it without proper follow-up procedure.
The WDRB report also highlighted Conrad’s questioning of fired officer Brett Hankison visiting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the hospital. Mattingly was shot in the femoral artery by Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker by way of a legal firearm.
In addition, while Conrad was at the hospital to see Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who had been shot during the raid, he said he saw Det. Brett Hankison walking around, which the chief acknowledged was unusual because someone from the public integrity unit “is usually tasked with keeping up with the officers involved.”
“…It’s just so contrary from what I’ve seen in previous officer-involved shootings. I mean, they, ah-ah, my experience is they are brought to the Public Integrity by, you know, members of – of this unit.”
The Courier-Journal shared more of Conrad’s interview and it brings into focus that he was somewhat aware that the officers involved in the fateful raid knew that they had to get their stories right before reporting the incident.
From the Courier-Journal:
“I’ve been around long enough to see the process of people sharing a story,” Conrad said. “And by the time it gets from point A to point Z it is very different and often nowhere near what really happened.”
After the conclusion of Hankison being handed three counts of wanton endangerment, which he has pleaded not guilty to, whisperings of a grand scheme to clear the names of the officers began to crop up in social media circles and abroad.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron defended the officers’ actions as self-defense but a grand juror who observed the proceedings surrounding Taylor’s case is requesting to speak publicly. Cameron’s office has until Wednesday to respond to the request.