• U.S.
    The Daily Beast

    Sole Witness Who Heard Cops Announce Themselves in Breonna Taylor Raid Changed His Story

    This week, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made the bombshell announcement that the cops who fatally shot Breonna Taylor would not be charged with killing her, calling their use of force in the March raid “justified to protect themselves.”In that justification, he said that one witness corroborated the three officers’ insistence that they knocked and identified themselves at Taylor’s Louisville home while executing a search warrant in connection with a narcotics investigation. It contradicted claims from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenny Walker, and 11 other residents, who said they didn’t hear the cops announce themselves. Instead, Walker thought he was being burglarized and fired a warning shot that triggered a tragic chain of events.But, according to documents and audio obtained by VICE News on Saturday, that sole witness initially told investigators days after the March 13 raid that he didn’t actually hear officers Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove announce themselves.The witness—identified by VICE as Aarin Sarpee but by other outlets and public records as Aaron Julue Sarpee—was picking up his daughter from a unit above Taylor’s when the raid took place.It wasn’t until he was interviewed a second time, about two months after the raid by a sergeant in LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, that Sarpee said he heard police say, “This is the cops.”Sarpee’s flip-flop, the latest twist in a case that has made Taylor an icon in the Black Lives Matter movement, calls into question the strength of Cameron’s case and the grand jury report, which state officials are demanding be made public.“I never had faith in Daniel Cameron to begin with, I knew he was too inexperienced with a job of this caliber. I knew he chose to be at the wrong side of the law,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in a Friday statement. “My hope was that he knew he had the power to do the right thing, that he had the power to start the healing of this city, that he had the power to help mend over 400 years of oppression. What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them. That we are never safe.”On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted only Hankison, though only for recklessly firing shots that endangered people in other units. Mattingly and Cosgrove—the cop who fired the shot that killed Taylor—weren’t charged.Cameron’s charging recommendations were at least partly based on Sarpee’s testimony, since the attorney general said Wednesday that investigators had “an independent witness” corroborate the officer’s account.No Cops Charged With Killing Breonna Taylor“My office was not tasked with determining if this was a tragedy, as it was,” Cameron said Wednesday, admitting that it was unlikely more charges would be laid. “My job was to put emotions aside and investigate facts to see if state law was violated.”Wednesday’s charges came more than six months after a “no-knock” warrant was issued for Taylor’s apartment as part of a controversial narcotics investigation into the 26-year-old’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.According to VICE, LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit first contacted Sarpee a week after the shooting. The officers involved in Taylor’s warrant had previously said Sarpee was outside the apartment upstairs and got in an argument with Hankison as they were banging on Taylor’s door.When Sgt. Jason Vance asked Sarpee if he heard anyone identify themselves as law enforcement, he answered: “No, nobody identified themselves.”At the end of the March 21 conversation, Vance told Sarpee investigators would be calling him again to conduct a formal interview. Investigation notes suggest attempts were made to contact Sarpee but he didn’t speak to the Public Integrity Unity again until May 15.In a seven minute call, Sgt. Amanda Seelye pressed Sarpee on whether he knew the individuals entering Taylor’s home were officers and if he heard them announce themselves.This time, Sarpee said he heard police identify themselves, a change that suddenly corroborated the testimonies of the officers at the scene.“It’s been so long now,” Sarpee told Seelye on the call. “I recall some of it.”Sarpee also told The New York Times that he saw the officers as he stepped out onto the exterior staircase of Taylor’s apartment unit with his 2-year-old. He said that before the officers ordered him to go back inside the apartment, he heard at least three loud knocks on Taylor’s door and heard at least one of the officers scream “Police!” Sarpee, however, insisted to the Times he only heard them say the statement once.Despite Sarpee’s changing story, his claim to have heard police from the front of an apartment doesn’t offer complete clarity on whether Taylor and her boyfriend would have heard it from their bedroom towards the back of their unit.Sarpee did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. VICE reported that the witness declined to speak with them, saying he had to speak with his lawyer first. The LMPD and Attorney General’s office also did not immediately respond to request for comment.Hankison was fired in June for “extreme violations” of police protocol after “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment–including several shots through the patio door and window, and into a neighbor’s apartment—after Walker fired an initial shot. Mattingly, Cosgrove, and the detective who requested the warrant were put on administrative leave. Six more officers are reportedly under investigation for their role in the raid.Earlier this month, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family in their wrongful death lawsuit.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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  • Entertainment
    Deadline

    “Save Lindsey” Ad Mocks Lindsey Graham’s Plea For Campaign Donations On “Hannity”

    Twice on Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham pleaded with Fox News viewers to help save his campaign for reelection. First on Fox & Friends then later on Hannity, the sitting Republican senator from South Carolina complained that he had been massively out-fundraised by his Democratic rival. In tones that The Washington Post called "weepy," Graham plead […]

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  • Politics
    The Wrap

    Trump Lashes Out at Fox News After Poll Shows Him Down in Key States

    President Donald Trump lashed out once again at Fox News after the network’s latest poll showed him losing to Democratic nominee Joe Biden in key states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.“One of the worst polls in 2016 was the @FoxNews Poll. They were so ridiculously wrong. Fox said they were going to change pollsters, but they didn’t. They totally over sample Democrats to a point that a child could see what is going on. Rasmussen, which was accurate, at 52%,” wrote the president on Twitter.The new poll, released Thursday, shows Biden at 52% in Nevada while Trump is at 41%. In Ohio, Biden had 50% and Trump and 45%. Pennsylvania earned Biden 51% and Trump 44%. A majority of respondents in each state were displeased with Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and indicated they’d prefer Biden to make the next Supreme Court nominee.Also Read: Trump Faces Boos, 'Vote Him Out' Chants at Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial (Video)The president regularly chastizes Fox News and its polling unit when he dislikes the findings of a poll, and while Fox News doesn’t respond to direct attacks, the network has been consistent in defending its polling unit.Earlier this month, the president falsely claimed that he was actually leading in battleground states, but the “fake news” wouldn’t report it.“I must tell you that Fox has among the worst pollsters of all. I think they’re terrible,” Trump told Fox News Sean Hannity Sept. 9, while calling into his show.Read original story Trump Lashes Out at Fox News After Poll Shows Him Down in Key States At TheWrap

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