Judge rules Louisville police do not have to release investigative file into fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor

The harm of releasing the file is magnified by the public attention, the judge said

A Louisville judge ruled on Monday that police do not have to release an investigative file into the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor because doing so would harm the integrity of the case, which is still ongoing.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Barry Willet further stated that Louisville Metro Police Department does not have to release the file because Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has not announced whether he will prosecute the officers who fatally shot Taylor in her apartment on March 13, the Courier-Journal reported. Under Kentucky law, the file is “exempt from disclosure,” Willet said.

This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. 

This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.  (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP)

Willet’s decision, signed last Thursday, borrows from a July affidavit from interim LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder who said the Public Integrity Unit Case “is still an active ongoing investigation.”

Schroeder argued that releasing the investigative file early, risked substantially harming the investigation and prosecution,” harms that are magnified by the public attention the case has received.

“Given the unique amount of public concern and criticism stemming from Ms. Taylor’s death, one can make a rational connection between the kinds of records described by Chief Schroeder and the likely harm that would arise from their premature release,” Willet’s wrote in his decision.

Separately, LMPD confirmed Monday that six police officers are under investigation by the department's Professional Standards Unit for their role in the shooting. A department spokeswoman told the Courier-Journal that the unit, which initiated the probe, investigates whether officers broke department polices. Five of the six officers were at Taylor's apartment the night the search warrant was initiated.

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Taylor’s case has received national attention in recent months against a wider backdrop of protests against racial injustice. The 26-year-old was shot on March 13 after officers executed a no-knock search warrant at her home and shot at her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after he fired a shot that struck an officer.

Walker has said he didn't know police were at the door and thought it was an intruder. Officers fired over 20 shots, including eight that hit Taylor. Celebrities, athletes, activists and Louisville residents have called for Cameron to criminally charge the officers involved in the raid.

In preparation for an announcement by state Attorney General Cameron about whether he will charge officers involved in the shooting death of Taylor, Louis police have canceled vacations “until further notice.”

"It is important to note that (Cameron) has said there is no timetable for the announcement," the statement said.

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Police said they are also setting up some barricades around the downtown area. Many of the protests have been around a downtown park and city hall. Federal officials have closed the federal courthouse and other federal buildings for the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.