LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At least five of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s case were part of another botched drug raid a year and a half before the 26-year-old was killed. The 2018 incident traumatized a family, led to zero charges, and is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit filed against the Louisville Metro Government.
Unredacted body camera footage obtained by VICE News shows unidentified Louisville Metro Police officers ramming through the front door of West Louisville resident Mario Daugherty, firing flash bangs into his house, and shouting at Daugherty’s girlfriend, Ashlea Burr and their crying children — who were 13 and 14 at the time — to come outside.
At least five of the officers involved in the raid — Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Campbell, Mike Nobles, and Joshua Jaynes — would go on to take part in Breonna Taylor’s case. Hankison, Cosgrove, Campbell, and Nobles were present for the execution of the raid on Taylor’s home; Jaynes requested the search warrant.
“It’s like we relive this stuff every day,” Daugherty told VICE News. He says the entire family is still traumatized by the experience. “I mean, our kids, they’ll never forget about this stuff. And it just hurts.”
VICE News reported on the 2018 raid earlier this year as part of a documentary about Taylor’s case and the danger of both no-knock and quick-knock warrants.
According to the search warrant, officers had received a complaint that marijuana was being grown and sold out of Daugherty’s house. Unlike in Taylor’s case, the warrant was not for a no-knock raid. But the body camera footage clearly shows that the SWAT team did not knock prior to entering and used a battering ram to force open the door while simultaneously shouting, “Police! Search warrant!”
One of Daugherty’s daughters, Zariyah, who was 14 at the time, ran out the back of the house thinking they were being robbed as SWAT members broke through the door. Officers found her in the alley behind her house, in the rain, and yelling at her with guns drawn to get on the ground.
One officer can be heard asking her whether she had any weapons or guns on her person or in her hair. Zariyah told VICE News she was trying to get her grandmother who lived next door.
Daugherty and Burr filed a lawsuit against Louisville Metro Government and several unnamed officers involved in October 2019, a year after the botched raid on their home.
“We just wanted to get our story out there because we didn’t want this to happen to anybody innocent and anybody innocent’s life to get lost,” Daugherty said.
The city moved to dismiss the case. Five months later, Taylor was killed.
Daugherty and Burr didn’t realize the overlap in officers until recently, when they were watching the news. They recognized Hankison, looked back at some of the paperwork LMPD had left behind, and noticed two familiar names: Hankison and Cosgrove.
“She looked up at me and started crying,” Daugherty said. “He [Hankison] was here. Two of them was in our home.”
Shortly before protests against police brutality erupted across the nation, now-vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the raids on Taylor and Daugherty’s homes. They cited “troubling parallels between these cases” and requested an independent investigation “to determine whether the Louisville Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of constitutional violations.”
Ten Louisville Metro Police Department officers were named in the search warrant inventory form for the 2018 raid, which was recently obtained by VICE News. Three of the four officers who were placed on administrative reassignment following Taylor’s death are on that list: Hankison and Cosgrove, who fired their weapons during the raid on Taylor’s apartment; and Jaynes, who requested the no-knock search warrant.
Two more, Campbell and Nobles, were also present during the raid on Taylor’s home, according to testimony given by Sgt. John Mattingly. It’s unclear why the Louisville police did not originally identify them as present.
Hankison has since been fired. His termination letter says he “displayed an extreme indifference to human life” during the raid on Taylor’s home. Hankison appealed the decision, but his appeal is on hold until the criminal investigation is complete. Hankison’s lawyer did not respond to our request for comment.
The search warrants for both raids also allegedly have some holes according to lawsuits filed by both Daugherty and Taylor’s family. Among the evidence that was used to justify the warrant for Taylor’s home were suspicious packages connected to a suspected drug dealer, which police claim they confirmed with a U.S. Postal Service inspector. But Louisville’s U.S. Postal Service inspector told local news outlet WDRB that "there's no packages of interest going there.”
According to Daugherty’s lawyer, Joshua Rose, “the supposed justification for searching my client’s house for drugs was virtually nonexistent.” Rose says the warrant was based on a complaint filed before Daugherty had even moved in, and that the police didn’t act on the complaint until over four months after it was filed, when they say they saw a Black man stop by the house for 10 minutes one day, and that they could smell weed outside on two occasions. They don’t appear to have verified whether the occupants of the home had changed before requesting the warrant or executing the raid.
According to the inventory form, police found a small amount of marijuana in the home, but no plants. The police don’t appear to have uncovered any evidence of intent to sell. They never charged Daugherty with anything.
The Louisville Metro Police Department did not respond to our request for comment.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed 5 months before Taylor’s death, Daugherty and his family were not only seeking judicial redress, but also hoped to prevent a similar, and possibly fatal, raid in the future.
“I feel like after it happened to us, if the leaders would have stepped out and tried to assist us, I feel like we could have gotten a change way before Breonna’s death,” Daugherty said. “I feel like her death could have been avoided.”
Cover: Body camera footage of a 2018 raid shows Louisville police breaking down the door of West Louisville resident Mario Daugherty. (Louisville Metro Police Department)