Breonna Taylor killing highlights importance of Sunshine Laws

Published 8:45 p.m. EDT Mar 16, 2021

Story and art by Mike Thompson, USA TODAY

Breonna Taylor killing highlights importance of Sunshine Laws

early on the morning of march 13, 2020, seven louisville metro police OFFICERS executed a search warrant at the apartment of breonna taylor, searching for drugs.
police battered down the door. in the darkness and confusion, taylor’s boyfriend, kenneth walker, fired one shot from inside the apartment. three officers returned fire 32 times.  the exchange left taylor dead and a police officer shot in the thigh.early on the morning of march 13, 2020, seven louisville metro police OFFICERS executed a search warrant at the apartment of breonna taylor, searching for drugs.
early on the morning of march 13, 2020, seven louisville metro police OFFICERS executed a search warrant at the apartment of breonna taylor, searching for drugs.
(the officers) were justified in their use of force.in september, a grand jury indicted one of the officers for shooting into an adjacent apartment, but issued no indictment in taylor’s death.kentucky attorney general daniel cameron announced that his office conducted an investigation.daniel cameron,
kentucky attorney
general
and the official version may well have been the end of the story,had it not been for reporters and editors at the louisville courier-journal and other news outlets that used kentucky’s sunshine laws to paint a more complete picture of what actually happened. the laws vary greatly from state to state. they allow anyone – not just news organizations – to obtain information about what’s going on inside our government.after the shooting, THE police department’s public integrity unit launched an investigation, but the department and city did not want to hand over information about what was uncovered.sunshine laws “require government agencies and bodies to allow the public to attend their meetings and have access to their records.”We were getting an initial narrative from the police on what happened in Breonna taylor’s apartment that turned out to be much different than what actually DID happen.it was clear the police were trying to put their best light on how their
officers acted.michael trautmann
news director, louisville
courier-journal
Reporters at the newspaper filed dozens of requests for information under the state’s open records law. 

The paper used the services of two First Amendment attorneys to litigate dozens of requests for information. Under the threat of legal action, the city also released the massive PUBLIC INTEGRITy UNIT REPORT.

(The police) made a real effort not to tell anybody…they didn’t give out any information…they didn’t want anybody to know. And the mayor didn’t want anybody to know about it. 
THE PAPER’s reporting revealed that The detective who obtained the search warrant for Taylor’s home admitted to investigators it wasn’t worded precisely and may have been in error.JON FLEIschaker,
attorney, kaplan, johnson, abate and bird  
the paper also discovered that Louisville police had issued a nearly blank incident report of the shooting that contained inaccurate information such as listing Taylor’s injuries as “none” despite the fact she had been shot to death and that police checked “no” on the “forced entry” box even though they used a battering ram to knock in her front door.In addition, the paper revealed that One of the officers involved in the shooting entered the crime scene after Taylor’s death. And that a police major intervened in the internal investigation of the Taylor case and acknowledged sharing information from investigators with officers under her command who were being investigated.
as a result of the reporting, three police officers were fired, one officer was charged and charges against taylor’s boyfriend have been permanently dropped.cities and states across the U.S. are taking up versions of Breonna’s Law passed in Louisville that would ban, curb or scrutinize no-knock search and arrest warrants.Without robust Sunshine Laws, reporting such as the Courier-Journal did in the case of Breonna Taylor would not be possible. The public would not get a full and accurate picture of what happened AND WOULD not have the means to hold OUR government accountable. Bringing the facts to light is a powerful safeguard for our democracy.maribel PEREZ wadsworth President/News Gannett Media & Publisher/USA TODAY

For information about sunshine laws in your state and how you can file a request, click here.
for instructions on how to request information from the federal government under the freedom of information act, click here

8 thoughts on “Breonna Taylor killing highlights importance of Sunshine Laws

    • Hello recall369. Thank you. While Ron and I do not celebrate the holiday very much I did find out a long time ago that my sire, my biological father, had a Irish heritage. His last name was Griffin. I have always wondered how different my life would had been if I had not been adopted by the Demon Couple with their Hell Spawn. I wonder if Ireland would let me immigrate for asylum? Hugs

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      • I am the product of an Irish Great-Grandmother with the last name of O’Handily and a Scottish Great-Geandfather with the last name of McIntyre on my material side and double German on my paternal side.

        Liked by 1 person

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