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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

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