Information

Breonna Taylor is killed by police in botched raid


Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, is shot and killed by police in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment after officers busted through her door with a battering ram .

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, both of whom had no criminal records, had been asleep in bed. Walker, who later stated he feared an intruder had broken in, used his legally owned gun to fire one shot, which wounded Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly and officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, all white and in plainclothes, returned fire, blindly shooting 32 times in the dark, striking Taylor six times.

According to The New York Times, Louisville police had received a court-approved no-knock warrant to search the apartment for signs of drug trafficking while investigating Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. Those orders were changed to "knock and announce" before the raid, the newspaper reports. The police involved stated they complied with the warrant, but Walker said he heard no such announcement.

"Somebody kicked in the door, shot my girlfriend," Walker told a dispatcher in a call to 911.

The three officers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Walker was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer, a charge that was dropped May 22, as the FBI, Department of Justice and Kentucky attorney general began their own investigations, according to the Times. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Following an internal investigation, Hankison was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department June 23 for violating procedure and was indicted by a grand jury on September 23 on three counts of wanton endangerment, as bullets he fired entered a neighboring apartment with people inside. He pleaded not guilty. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron told the grand jury that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning fire. No charges were brought against either man.

Following Taylor's death and subsequent national protests, including a viral social media campaign with the hashtag #SayHerName and outcries from celebrities, civil rights activists and political leaders, no-knock warrants were banned in Louisville in an ordinance known as “Breonna’s Law.” The city also agreed to pay her family a historic $12 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit settlement.


Breonna Taylor was killed in ‘botched police raid,’ attorney says

Breonna Taylor, an EMT who worked for two local hospitals, was shot dead inside her apartment in the 3000 block of Springfield Drive back in March. LMPD officials said three officers went to the home on March 13 to serve a warrant. After they announced themselves and entered the apartment, they were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, detectives said.

Tuesday, the attorney now representing Taylor’s family, Ben Crump, shared his account of what happened that night. Crump represented the Trayvon Martin family during the high-profile, stand-your-ground case in Florida several years ago, and is now representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down in Georgia back in February.

"There are witnesses who are her neighbors . nobody heard the police announcing themselves,” Crump said. “This was a botched execution of a search warrant where they already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Two months later, the outside of Taylor’s apartment still shows bullet holes from the deadly encounter. Her aunt, Bianca Austin, wore one of Taylor’s uniforms while speaking to WAVE 3 News on Tuesday.

“She had a lot of plans,” Austin said of her niece, who added that Taylor had dreams of becoming a nurse, buying a home and having children with Walker, her high school sweetheart.

Austin and another of Taylor’s aunts, Tahasha Holloway, said they want the three LMPD officers -- Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly -- held accountable.

“If a regular person barged into the wrong home and shot Breonna, they would have been charged,” they agreed.

Taylor’s family has filed a civil lawsuit that states Walker thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and that’s why he fired back in self-defense. Official documents also showed neither Taylor nor Walker had a history of drugs or violence.

“Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, there is absolutely no reason Breonna Taylor should be dead,” Crump said. “Killed in a hail of bullets from your police officers."

Added Austin: ”Just to know that she died like that in the comfort of her own home by people who she worked alongside with every day. She worked alongside these people every day."

Walker was shot at least eight times. The lawsuit said officers fired through closed blinds, without any consideration for human life.

LMPD said it would not comment on a pending investigation.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday posted on his Facebook page that he has asked LMPD Chief Steve Conrad for an investigation into the case, which is starting to make national headlines:


Breonna Taylor was killed in ‘botched police raid,’ attorney says

Breonna Taylor, an EMT who worked for two local hospitals, was shot dead inside her apartment in the 3000 block of Springfield Drive back in March. LMPD officials said three officers went to the home on March 13 to serve a warrant. After they announced themselves and entered the apartment, they were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, detectives said.

Tuesday, the attorney now representing Taylor’s family, Ben Crump, shared his account of what happened that night. Crump represented the Trayvon Martin family during the high-profile, stand-your-ground case in Florida several years ago, and is now representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down in Georgia back in February.

"There are witnesses who are her neighbors . nobody heard the police announcing themselves,” Crump said. “This was a botched execution of a search warrant where they already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Two months later, the outside of Taylor’s apartment still shows bullet holes from the deadly encounter. Her aunt, Bianca Austin, wore one of Taylor’s uniforms while speaking to WAVE 3 News on Tuesday.

“She had a lot of plans,” Austin said of her niece, who added that Taylor had dreams of becoming a nurse, buying a home and having children with Walker, her high school sweetheart.

Austin and another of Taylor’s aunts, Tahasha Holloway, said they want the three LMPD officers -- Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly -- held accountable.

“If a regular person barged into the wrong home and shot Breonna, they would have been charged,” they agreed.

Taylor’s family has filed a civil lawsuit that states Walker thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and that’s why he fired back in self-defense. Official documents also showed neither Taylor nor Walker had a history of drugs or violence.

“Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, there is absolutely no reason Breonna Taylor should be dead,” Crump said. “Killed in a hail of bullets from your police officers."

Added Austin: ”Just to know that she died like that in the comfort of her own home by people who she worked alongside with every day. She worked alongside these people every day."

Walker was shot at least eight times. The lawsuit said officers fired through closed blinds, without any consideration for human life.

LMPD said it would not comment on a pending investigation.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday posted on his Facebook page that he has asked LMPD Chief Steve Conrad for an investigation into the case, which is starting to make national headlines:


What to Know About Breonna Taylor’s Death

Fury over her killing by the police in Louisville, Ky., fueled protests, and questions persist about how the botched raid unfolded.

The death of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020 during a botched raid on her apartment, has been one of the main drivers of wide-scale demonstrations that erupted in the spring and summer over policing and racial injustice in the United States.

A grand jury in September indicted a former Louisville detective involved in the raid, Brett Hankison, for wanton endangerment of neighbors whose apartment was hit when he fired without a clear line of sight into the sliding glass patio door and window of Ms. Taylor’s apartment. He pleaded not guilty. No charges were announced against the other two officers who fired shots, and no one was charged for causing Ms. Taylor’s death.

Detective Myles Cosgrove, one of the officers who shot Ms. Taylor, and Detective Joshua Jaynes, who prepared the search warrant for the raid, received letters of termination in late December, according to lawyers representing the officers. Detectives Cosgrove and Jaynes were officially fired on Jan. 5, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal. The Justice Department announced on Monday that it would investigate the Louisville police and the local county government.

A New York Times examination of video footage from the scene, witness accounts, statements by the police officers and forensics reports showed that the raid was compromised by poor planning and reckless execution. It found that the only support for a grand jury’s conclusion that the officers had announced themselves before bursting into Ms. Taylor’s apartment — beyond the assertions of the officers themselves — was the account of a single witness who had given inconsistent statements.

Since the national demonstrations over police brutality and systemic racism that began in late May, Louisville officials have banned the use of no-knock warrants, which allow the police to forcibly enter people’s homes to search them without warning, and, in late June, fired Mr. Hankison, finding that he had shown “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Ms. Taylor’s family has pleaded for justice, pushing for criminal charges against the other officers. Ms. Taylor’s case began to draw national attention in May, and she has since been the center of campaigns from celebrities and athletes. In September, Louisville officials agreed to pay $12 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Ms. Taylor’s mother and to institute reforms aimed at preventing deaths by officers.

Still, critics say progress in the case has been slow, especially when compared with the police killing in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis, where officers were swiftly fired and charged. This month, one of those officers, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

“At this point it’s bigger than Breonna, it’s bigger than just Black Lives,” Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said over the summer as she beseeched the authorities to bring criminal charges. “We’ve got to figure out how to fix the city, how to heal from here.”


Contents

  • Breonna Taylor worked for University of Louisville Health as a full-time ER technician [31][32][33] and was a former emergency medical technician. [31] Her funeral was on March 21, 2020. [32]
  • Kenneth Walker was Taylor's boyfriend, who was present with her in the apartment at the time.
  • Jonathan Mattingly is an LMPD police officer who joined the department in 2000, became a sergeant in 2009, and joined the narcotics division in 2016. [34]
  • Brett Hankison is a former LMPD detective. Hankison joined the department in 2003. [34] The LMPD fired him on June 23, 2020.
  • Myles Cosgrove is an LMPD police officer who was transferred to the department's narcotics division in 2016. [34]

The LMPD investigation's primary targets were Jamarcus Glover and Adrian Walker (not related to Kenneth Walker [35] ), who were suspected of selling controlled substances from a drug house approximately 10 miles (16 km) away. [15] [36] Glover had cohabited with Taylor and said the police had pressured him to move out of Taylor's residence for unspecified reasons. [37] Glover and Taylor had been in an on-off relationship that started in 2016 [9] and lasted until February 2020, when Taylor committed to Kenneth Walker. [9]

In December 2016, Fernandez Bowman was found dead in a car rented by Taylor and used by Glover. He had been shot eight times. [38] Glover had used Taylor's address and phone number for various purposes, including bank statements. [39]

Jamarcus Glover's statements

In a variety of statements, Glover said that Taylor had no involvement in the drug operations, that as a favor she held money from the proceeds for him, and that she handled money for him for other purposes. In different recorded jailhouse conversations Glover said that Taylor had been handling his money and that she was holding $8,000 of it, [39] that he had given Taylor money to pay phone bills, and that he had told his sister that another woman had been keeping the group's money. [40] [41]

In the recorded conversations and in an interview with The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Glover repeatedly said that Taylor was not involved in any drug operations and that police had "no business" looking for him at her residence, and denied that he had said in the recorded conversations that he kept money at her residence. [37] [40] Taylor was never a co-defendant in Glover's case. [40] [42]

Warrant

LMPD obtained a "no-knock" search warrant for Taylor's apartment at 3003 Springfield Drive in Louisville. The search warrant included Taylor's residence because it was suspected that Glover received packages containing drugs there, might have been "keeping narcotics and/or proceeds from the sale of narcotics" [41] there, and because a car registered to Taylor had been seen parked in front of Glover's house several times. [15] [43] Specifically, the warrant alleges that in January 2020, Glover left Taylor's apartment with an unknown package, presumed to contain drugs, and took it to a known drug apartment soon afterward. The warrant states that this event was verified "through a US Postal Inspector". In May 2020, the U.S. postal inspector in Louisville publicly announced that the collaboration with law enforcement had never actually occurred. The postal office said it was actually asked by a different agency to monitor packages going to Taylor's apartment, but after doing so, it concluded, "There's [sic] no packages of interest going there." This public revelation put the investigation and especially the warrant into question and resulted in an internal investigation. [44]

The warrant was applied for by LMPD detective Joshua C. Jaynes among a total of five warrants approved the preceding day by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mary M. Shaw "within 12 minutes", [45] and which was stamped as filed with the court clerk's office on April 2. [46] [47] All five warrants contain similar language involving a justification for no-knock entry that concludes with "due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate". [45] Christopher Slobogin, director of Vanderbilt University's Criminal Justice Program, said that unless police had a reason to suspect that Taylor's residence had surveillance cameras "a no-knock warrant would be improper." [45] Brian Gallini, a professor at the University of Arkansas, also expressed skepticism about the warrant, writing that if it was appropriate in this particular search, "then every routine drug transaction would justify grounds for no-knock". [45]

Detective Jaynes attested in the affidavit that,

Affiant verified through a US Postal Inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages at 3003 Springfield Drive #4. Affiant knows through training and experience that it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to receive mail packages at different locations to avoid detection from law enforcement. Affiant believes through training and experience, that Mr. J. Glover may be keeping narcotics and/or proceeds from the sale of narcotics at 3003 Springfield Drive #4 for safe keeping. [47]

But Sergeant Timothy Salyer, supervisor of the Shively, Kentucky, police department's Special Investigations Unit, told LMPD internal investigators in May that due to "bad blood" between the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS ) and the LMPD, inquiries related to the drug trafficking investigation had been routed through the Shively PD . [48] In his interview with internal investigators, Jaynes said that before the raid on Taylor's apartment Mattingly told him that the Shively PD had reported that the United States Postal Service had not delivered any suspicious packages to that address. [48] [49] Jaynes was reassigned from his duties with the LMPD in June. [45]

According to The New York Times, before the execution of the no-knock warrant, orders were changed to "knock and announce". [50] [11]

Police entry into the apartment

Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Louisville police dressed in plain clothes knocked on Taylor's door before forcing entry using a battering ram. [14] [1] [51] There is dispute as to whether the officers announced themselves before forcing entry.

Walker contends that Taylor asked, "Who is it?" several times after hearing a loud bang at the door. Hearing no answer, he then decided to call his mother instead of the police. After calling his mother he dialed 911 [52] and armed himself. [3] The police officers involved have testified that they announced themselves multiple times before using the battering ram to enter the apartment. [53] [54] [55] [56]

The New York Times interviewed roughly a dozen neighbors and alleged that only one of them, who was on the exterior staircase immediately above Taylor's apartment, heard the officers shout "Police!" once and knock at least three times, while approximately 11 other neighbors heard no knock or announcement, including one who was outside smoking a cigarette. [9]

According to a statement by Attorney General Cameron, an independent investigation concluded that the no-knock warrant was indeed served as a knock-and-announce warrant, which was corroborated by one independent witness who was near Taylor's apartment. [54] [55] [56] But on September 30, this witness's lawyer said that police announced themselves "only in passing" and implied that the witness was quoted out of context or that video was deceptively spliced. [57] According to VICE News, the witness originally said "nobody identified themselves" when interviewed by police a week after the shooting. But when the police called him two months later, he said he heard, "This is the cops." [57] [58] [59]

Shooting and aftermath

Walker said that he and Taylor believed intruders were breaking into the apartment. [60] [36] He initially told police during his arrest that Taylor had opened fire, [60] [61] [62] but later reversed his statement, stating that he had fired the warning shot in self-defense. [60] [63] [36] [55] According to officials, the shot struck Mattingly in the leg. [64] Walker's legal team asserts that because forensic photography shows no blood in the part of the apartment where Mattingly says he was shot, because a court-sealed photograph of the single hollow-point bullet from Walker's firearm shows no blood, and because, based on consultations with pathologists, they believe that a hollow-point bullet would have done "considerably" more damage to Mattingly's thigh, the evidence suggests Mattingly was shot by police officers. [4] A Kentucky State Police ballistics report is inconclusive, saying that "due to limited markings of comparative value", the bullet that hit Mattingly and exited his thigh was neither "identified nor eliminated as having been fired" from Walker's gun. [64] But it was fired from a 9mm pistol like Walker's, whereas all officers were carrying 40-caliber guns. [15]

Police then fired 32 rounds into the apartment [8] during two "flurries" or waves of shots separated by one minute and eight seconds. [4] Mattingly, the only officer who entered the residence, [56] fired six shots. [65] At the same time, Cosgrove fired 16 shots from the doorway area in a matter of seconds. Hankison fired 10 times from outside through a sliding glass door and bedroom window, both of which were covered by blinds or curtains. [65] [55] The officers' shots hit objects in the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms. [7]

Taylor was struck by five or six bullets in the hallway [8] [14] [15] and pronounced dead at the scene. [66] Cosgrove fired the shot that killed her. [20] Walker was uninjured.

According to police grand-jury testimony, the warrant was never executed and Taylor's apartment was not searched for drugs or money after the shooting. [10] [16] More than a month after the shooting, Glover was offered a plea deal if he would testify that Taylor was part of his drug dealing operations. Prosecutors said that that offer was in a draft of the deal but later removed. Glover rejected the deal. [40] [42]

On November 19, 2020, Glover's associate Adrian Walker was fatally shot. The Louisville police stated that they had no suspects in the killing. [67]

Autopsy and death certificate

An autopsy was conducted on Taylor, and her cause of death was determined to be homicide. The death certificate also notes that she received five gunshot wounds to the body. The coroner denied The Courier-Journal ' s request for a copy of the autopsy. The newspaper was appealing to the attorney general's office as of July 17, 2020. [14]

Investigations into the three police officers

The police filed an incident report that claimed that Taylor had no injuries and that no forced entry occurred. The police department said that technical errors led to a nearly entirely blank malformed report. [68]

Local and state investigation

All three officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of an investigation [66] by the police department's internal Professional Integrity Unit. [34] On May 20, 2020, the investigation's findings were given to Daniel Cameron, Attorney General of Kentucky, to determine whether any officer should be criminally charged. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also asked the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office to review the findings. [34]

In early June, Fischer called for Officer Hankison to be removed from the Louisville Police Merit Board, which reviews appeals from police offices in departmental disciplinary matters. [69] Hankison was one of five members of the board, which consists of three civilians and two police officers selected by the River City Fraternal Order of Police. [69] On June 19, three months after Taylor's killing, Louisville Metro Police interim chief Robert Schroeder sent Hankison a letter notifying him that Schroeder had begun termination proceedings against him. [70] [71] The letter accused Hankison of violating departmental policies on the use of deadly force by "wantonly and blindly" firing into Taylor's apartment without determining whether any person presented "an immediate threat" or whether there were "any innocent persons present". [70] The letter also cited past disciplinary action taken against Hankison by the department, including for reckless conduct. [72] Hankison was formally fired four days later (June 23) he had ten days (until July 3) to appeal his termination to the Louisville Police Merit Board. [73] That appeal was delayed until the criminal investigation is finished. [74]

On September 23, 2020, a state grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for endangering a neighboring white family of three when shots he fired penetrated their apartment. [75] [76] [77] Conviction could include a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine for each count. [77] Bullets also entered the upstairs apartment of a black family but no charges were filed. [78] [79] Neither Hankison nor the two other officers involved in the raid were indicted for Taylor's death. [20] [80]

The Louisville Courier Journal raised questions about whether the grand jury had been allowed to decide whether charges should be pressed against Mattingly and Cosgrove or whether prosecutors decided that the officers acted in self-defense without submitting the issue to the grand jury. Hankison's and Walker's attorneys requested the release of the grand jury transcript and related evidence. [81] On September 28, a grand juror filed a court motion stating that Cameron had mischaracterized the grand-jury proceedings and was "using grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility" for charging decisions. [82] A judge ordered the release of the grand jury proceedings' recording [83] [84] [85] Cameron's office and Hankison's attorney opposed the ruling. [86] A day later, Cameron said that he did not recommend murder charges to the grand jury, but maintained that he presented "a thorough and complete case". [82] While recordings of testimony and some other parts of the proceedings were released, the juror deliberations and prosecutor recommendations were not released and according to the state attorney general's office were never recorded. [10]

On October 22, a second grand juror criticized Cameron, how the grand jury was operated, and how Cameron presented the grand jury's conclusion. [27] [26] The juror agreed with the first juror's statement, including that members of the grand jury wanted to consider other charges against the officers, including homicide charges. [27] But "the panel was steered away from considering homicide charges and left in the dark about self-defense laws during deliberations." [27] These statements contradict Cameron's claims that the grand jury "agreed" the officers who shot Taylor were justified in returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them. The first grand juror said the panel "didn’t agree that certain actions were justified". [26]

One of the anonymous jurors said that the police "covered it up. That's what the evidence that I saw. And I felt like there should have been lots more charges on them." [25]

Federal investigation

The FBI is conducting its own independent investigation, [34] announced by its Louisville field office on May 21. [87] After the state grand jury charges were announced, the FBI stated, "FBI Louisville continues its federal investigation into all aspects of the death of Breonna Taylor. This work will continue beyond the state charges announced today." [88]

Photographic and video evidence

On May 14, 2020, photos were released to the public in The Courier-Journal by Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing Taylor's family. The photos show bullet damage in her apartment and the apartment next door. [89]

The Louisville police claimed that none of the officers were wearing body cameras, as all three were plainclothes narcotics officers. [87] On September 4, several news sources, including The Courier-Journal, reported that photographs of police officers taken late that day showed that at least one wore a body camera. In the later photographs, one of the officers who fired his weapon, Myles Cosgrove, was wearing a mount for a body camera another detective who was present wore a body camera, although it is not known whether it was active. [90] [91]

Neighbor's lawsuit

On May 20, 2020, the occupants of a neighboring apartment filed a lawsuit against Hankison, Cosgrove, and Mattingly. The occupants were a pregnant woman, her child and a man. The lawsuit alleged that the officers fired blindly into their apartment and nearly hit the man's head, shattered a sliding glass door, and hit objects in three rooms and a hallway. [92] [93]

Kenneth Walker

Walker initially faced criminal charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. [51] [94] The LMPD officers said they announced themselves before entering the home and were immediately met with gunfire from Walker. According to their statement, Walker discharged his firearm first, injuring an officer. Walker's lawyer said Walker thought that someone was entering the residence illegally and that Walker acted only in self-defense. A 911 call later released to the public provided a recording of Walker telling the 911 operator, "somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend". [95]

Walker was later released from jail due to coronavirus concerns, which drew criticism from Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad. [31]

Judge Olu Stevens released Walker from home incarceration on May 22. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine then moved to dismiss all charges against Walker in late May. The case could be presented to a grand jury again after reviewing the results of the FBI's and the Kentucky Attorney General's Office's investigations. Wine wanted the charges dropped because the officers never mentioned Taylor by name to the grand jury or that they shot her. Walker's close friends said that his job was to protect Taylor at any cost. [96] [97] On May 26, 2020, Judge Olu Stevens granted Wine's motion to drop all charges against Walker. [98] Rob Eggert, an attorney representing Walker, released a statement saying, "he just wanted to resume his life." At the same time, his attorney said that he could be charged again later as more facts come out of the shooting. [98] On June 16, Eggert filed a motion to permanently dismiss the indictment charging Walker with attempted murder and assault. The motion asked Stevens to grant Walker immunity because he was within his rights to defend himself and Taylor under Kentucky's stand-your-ground law. [99] On March 8, 2021, Stevens dismissed the criminal charges against Walker with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged for the shooting. The judge denied the motion for immunity, saying it was "moot". [100]

In September 2020, Walker filed a suit against the Louisville Metro Police Department accusing it of misconduct and claiming he did not fire the bullet that injured Mattingly. His lawyer, Steve Romines, has raised claims that Walker fired only one bullet and that the recovered round had no blood on it. [101]

Taylor's family

On May 15, Taylor's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Breonna Taylor against the officers and the city of Louisville. It states that Taylor and Walker were sleeping in the bedroom before the incident happened, and that the police officers were in unmarked vehicles. The lawsuit states that Taylor and Walker thought the apartment had been broken into by criminals and that "they were in significant, imminent danger." The lawsuit alleges that "the officers then entered Breonna's home without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers. The Defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life." [51] [102]

The lawsuit was resolved in mid-September 2020. The Louisville Metro Government (LMG ) agreed to pay Taylor's estate $12 million, "one of the highest settlement amounts ever paid in America for the wrongful death of a Black woman by police", according to family attorney Benjamin Crump. [2] The officers and the LMG admitted no liability nor wrongdoing and were absolved of any medical expenses related to Taylor's death [2] and the settlement prevents Taylor's family from suing the city. [103] The city agreed to initiate a housing credits program for police officers to live in the Louisville Metro area, a fundamental community policing measure, institute policing changes requiring more oversight by top commanders, and make mandatory safeguards that were only "common practice" before the raid. [2] [103] [104]

Jonathan Mattingly

Mattingly was one of three officers who took part in the raid that killed Taylor, and the officer allegedly wounded by Walker. In October 2020, Mattingly's lawyer announced that he was filing a countersuit against Walker for his injury. [105] He alleged that the gunshot wound caused severe damage and that Mattingly was "entitled to, and should, use the legal process to seek a remedy for the injury that Walker caused." [106] The lawsuit details that Mattingly underwent five hours of surgery because the shot severed his femoral artery, and alleges battery, assault and emotional distress. The suit also claims that Walker's response to the officers raid via a no-knock warrant was "outrageous, intolerable and offends all accepted standards of decency or morality". [105]

Police department

On May 21, Police Chief Steve Conrad announced his retirement after intense local and national criticism for the department's handling of the case, to be effective June 30. [107] Conrad was fired on June 1 after the fatal shooting of black business owner David McAtee. [108]

The LMPD announced in May that it would require all sworn officers to wear body cameras, and will change how it carries out search warrants. [87] Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer indefinitely suspended the use of no-knock warrants on May 29. [109]

On January 6, 2021, the LMPD fired Cosgrove, who shot and killed Taylor, and Jaynes, who obtained the warrant for the raid. [110]

Legislative proposals

In June 2020, Democrats in Congress introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a broad bill containing measures to combat misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing. [111] [112] [113] The bill would prohibit the issuance of no-knock warrants in federal drug investigations and provide incentives to states to enact a similar prohibition. [113] [112]

In June, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act, which would prohibit federal law enforcement from carrying out a warrant "until after the officer provides notice of his or her authority and purpose". It would also apply to state and local law enforcement that receive funding from the Justice Department. [114] [115]

On June 10, the Louisville city council voted unanimously to ban no-knock search warrants. The law is called Breonna's Law and requires all officers who serve warrants to wear body cameras and have them turned on from at least five minutes before the warrant is served to at least five minutes after. [116]

As the shooting occurred during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, at the beginning of an escalating nationwide wave of quarantines and lockdowns, for weeks after Taylor's death there was very little public reaction, little response from government officials, [117] and the LMPD did not provide many details about the shooting or answers to questions about the case. [118]

Individuals involved

In a September 2020, Mattingly sent a personal email to several hundred of his police colleagues wherein he blamed the city's mayor and police chief for failing "all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses", [119] faulted senior staff and the FBI for being unwilling "to hold the line", and urged his colleagues, "Do what you need to do to go home you [sic] your family." [120] Mattingly gave an interview in October to ABC News and The Louisville Courier Journal in which he reiterated his accusations that city officials had not come to his and the other officers' defense in the incident's aftermath. In the interview he highlighted the tragedy of the shooting but claimed that it was unlike the death of George Floyd, saying, "This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It's nothing like that. [. ] She didn't deserve to die. She didn't do anything to deserve a death sentence." [119]

Politicians and public officials

On May 13, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear responded to reports about Taylor's death and said the public deserved to know everything about the March raid. He requested that Attorney General Cameron and local and federal prosecutors review the Louisville police's initial investigation "to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind". [121]

On May 14, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad announced they had asked the FBI and the United States Attorney to review the local findings of the Public Integrity Unit's investigation when it is completed. [122]

Protests

For weeks after Taylor's death, her family, members of the community, and protesters around the world requested that officers involved be dehired and criminally charged. [123] [70] Many, including Taylor's family and friends, protested outside Mayor Fisher's office. [124]

Celebrities and public figures

Commentators such as Arwa Mahdawi and Brittney Cooper suggested Taylor's killing would likely not have received so much attention if not for the George Floyd protests, as black women are often neglected. Mahdawi related this to the #SayHerName campaign and Malcolm X's statement "The most disrespected person in America is the black woman" and called for further protest until justice for Taylor is secured. [125] [126]

"Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor" has become a common Internet meme. It has been criticized for trivializing the incident by being akin to the meme "Epstein didn't kill himself". [127] [128] [129] In late July 2020, American record producer J. W. Lucas, who is white, made controversial statements on Twitter that seemed to justify Taylor's murder, which received extremely negative reactions, including from activist Tamika Mallory, with whom he later had a heated exchange on Instagram Live. [130] Rapper Jack Harlow, whose single "Whats Poppin" Lucas produced, publicly denounced Lucas, saying that he did not know who Lucas was and was not aware of his involvement in the song. [131] [132]

The September 2020 edition of O magazine featured Taylor on the cover instead of the usual image of Oprah Winfrey as a way to honor "her life and the life of every other black woman whose life has been taken too soon". [133] It was the first issue in the magazine's 20-year history that did not have Winfrey's image on its cover. [133] Until Freedom and O magazine put up 26 billboards—one for every year of Taylor's life—around Louisville. [134] Winfrey released a video five months after Taylor's death calling for the arrest of the officers involved. [135]

Professional sports teams and individual athletes have honored Taylor and called for the end of racial injustice. Before the 2019–20 NBA season restarted, the Memphis Grizzlies wore shirts with Taylor's name and "#SayHerName" as they arrived at the arena. [136] At the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt on the podium with the words "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor." The governing body, the FIA, considered investigating Hamilton for violating the protocols for political messaging, but decided no investigation was necessary. [137] [138]

The September 2020 edition of Vanity Fair featured a painting of Taylor by Amy Sherald on the cover. The issue included an interview with Taylor's mother by author Ta-Nehisi Coates. [139] [140] In September 2020, George Clooney issued a statement in which he said that he was "ashamed" by the decision to charge Hankison with wanton endangerment rather than with Taylor's death. [141]

Vandalism

On December 26, 2020, a ceramic bust of Taylor that was installed near City Hall in downtown Oakland, California, was smashed, apparently with a baseball bat. The statue stood on a pedestal bearing the words, "Say Her Name, Breonna Taylor". [142]


Breonna Taylor was killed in ‘botched police raid,’ attorney says

Breonna Taylor, an EMT who worked for two local hospitals, was shot dead inside her apartment in the 3000 block of Springfield Drive back in March. LMPD officials said three officers went to the home on March 13 to serve a warrant. After they announced themselves and entered the apartment, they were met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, detectives said.

Tuesday, the attorney now representing Taylor’s family, Ben Crump, shared his account of what happened that night. Crump represented the Trayvon Martin family during the high-profile, stand-your-ground case in Florida several years ago, and is now representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down in Georgia back in February.

"There are witnesses who are her neighbors . nobody heard the police announcing themselves,” Crump said. “This was a botched execution of a search warrant where they already had the person they were searching for in custody.”

Two months later, the outside of Taylor’s apartment still shows bullet holes from the deadly encounter. Her aunt, Bianca Austin, wore one of Taylor’s uniforms while speaking to WAVE 3 News on Tuesday.

“She had a lot of plans,” Austin said of her niece, who added that Taylor had dreams of becoming a nurse, buying a home and having children with Walker, her high school sweetheart.

Austin and another of Taylor’s aunts, Tahasha Holloway, said they want the three LMPD officers -- Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly -- held accountable.

“If a regular person barged into the wrong home and shot Breonna, they would have been charged,” they agreed.

Taylor’s family has filed a civil lawsuit that states Walker thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and that’s why he fired back in self-defense. Official documents also showed neither Taylor nor Walker had a history of drugs or violence.

“Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, there is absolutely no reason Breonna Taylor should be dead,” Crump said. “Killed in a hail of bullets from your police officers."

Added Austin: ”Just to know that she died like that in the comfort of her own home by people who she worked alongside with every day. She worked alongside these people every day."

Walker was shot at least eight times. The lawsuit said officers fired through closed blinds, without any consideration for human life.

LMPD said it would not comment on a pending investigation.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday posted on his Facebook page that he has asked LMPD Chief Steve Conrad for an investigation into the case, which is starting to make national headlines:


Five Officers Involved In Breonna Taylor’s Death Linked To Previous Botched Drug Raid

Five of the police officers who were involved in the death of Breonna Taylor had been a part of another botched drug raid in 2018, according to Vice News.

Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Campbell, Mike Nobles, and Joshua Jaynes executed a a warrant in response to complaints that marijuana was being grown and sold out of Mario Daugherty’s house. They burst in on him, his girlfriend, and their 13 and 14-year-old children, leaving them traumatized — and finding no proof indicating Daugherty was selling marijuana.

The search warrant was actually based on a complaint for the address that had been filed prior to the family moving into the house. And according to Vice, some of the evidence used to obtain it was suspect, including a claim that suspicious packages going to the house had been confirmed by a U.S. Postal Service inspector — but the Louisville Postal Service inspector denied knowledge of anything suspicious to news outlets.

After no charges were brought against them, the family filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Government and several specific officers five months before Taylor’s death. The city moved to dismiss the case.

“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 told Vice.

Body cam footage of the 2018 raid shows that the police officers broke down the door without knocking, despite not having a “no-knock” search warrant. People inside the house can be heard screaming in fear as the police yell at them to come out.

Parallels between the botched raid on Daugherty’s house and the one that killed Breonna Taylor had already been drawn prior to Vice’s discovery of the overlap in officers in both situations. Kamala Harris and Lucy McBath, a Democratic Representative from Georgia, wrote to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation “to determine whether the Louisville Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of constitutional violations.”

Fortunately, Daugherty’s family all survived the raid, though living with the resulting trauma from such a dangerous encounter is something no innocent person should have to deal with, let alone children.

“It’s like we relive this stuff every day,” Daugherty said. “I mean, our kids, they’ll never forget about this stuff.”

He also says he can’t help but wonder if Breonna would still be alive if the local government would have taken their complaint seriously.

“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.”


Breonna Taylor: Debunking 6 myths and bits of misinformation about deadly police shooting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. &mdash The fatal March 13 police shooting of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman gunned down in her Louisville home, has sparked anger, launched protests and ignited calls for police reform across the U.S.

Unfortunately, not all the information reported about the night Taylor died, or the drug investigation that ultimately led to her death, has been accurate. In some instances, early reports of what took place have never been corrected.

Attorneys for Taylor’s family initially said she had been shot at least eight times, for example. That number was later downgraded by authorities to five or more.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Wednesday that Taylor was shot six times.

Breonna Taylor Louisville Metro police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, from left, Detective Myles Cosgrove and former Detective Brett Hankison are pictured. The officers were executing a search warrant March 13, 2020, at the home of Breonna Taylor, 26, when they opened fire on the unarmed woman's apartment, killing her. Her death has sparked protests across the U.S. (Louisville Metro Police Department)

In other instances, supporters on both sides of the debate have unwittingly, or sometimes purposely, spread misinformation about the 26-year-old’s killing at the hands of three Louisville police officers.

Cameron announced Wednesday that none of the three would face charges in Taylor’s death. One man, former Detective Brett Hankison, was indicted on three charges of wanton endangerment.

Hankison’s charges stem not from the shooting of Taylor, but from his firing several bullets into at least one adjoining apartment where neighbors were asleep. Hankison was fired June 19 for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment.

The former detective left his colleagues at the door of Taylor’s apartment and ran around to the patio area, where he fired into the sliding glass door and a window, both of which were covered with blinds. His actions violated a departmental policy requiring an officer to have a line of sight before firing at a suspect.

No additional state criminal charges are expected against any of the officers. An FBI investigation into Taylor’s death is ongoing.

Watch the Kentucky AG’s announcement below, courtesy of the Louisville Courier Journal.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron press conference on charges in Breonna Taylor case

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron about potential charges against the police officers at the center of the Breonna Taylor case.

Posted by Courier Journal on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Louisville officials last week settled for $12 million a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family. As part of the settlement, which is the largest in Louisville Police Department history, the city agreed to implement changes to the police department to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

As protests continue in the aftermath of Cameron’s announcement and the settlement, so does misinformation about the case. Below, we clear up six claims about Taylor and what happened the night she was killed.

Claim: Police entered the wrong apartment

Critics, including lawyers for Taylor’s family, stated early on that Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove broke down the door of the wrong apartment the night Taylor was slain. Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney involved in the Taylor case, wrote on Twitter on May 11 that police “had the wrong address AND their real suspect was already in custody.”

Search warrants released by police officials show, however, that Taylor’s apartment was a target of the drug investigation into her former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. The warrant, obtained by Louisville police Detective Joshua Jaynes the day before the shooting, identified the location of the search as Taylor’s apartment, Number 4, at St. Anthony Gardens on Springfield Drive.

Breonna Taylor A memorial is seen Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, outside the Louisville, Ky., apartment where Breonna Taylor was shot and killed March 13 by Louisville police officers executing a search warrant. (Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images)

Warrants were also obtained for multiple other locations, including three adjacent houses on Elliott Avenue that authorities said were the sites of drug trafficking.

The warrant for Taylor’s apartment sought any drugs or money believed to be proceeds from those drug deals. It also sought any safes or guns used to protect the product or its proceeds, as well as any paperwork that could be evidence of the criminal enterprise.

As evidence of Taylor’s alleged involvement, Jaynes listed surveillance on Jan. 16 in which Glover was spotted going into Taylor’s apartment and coming out with a suspected U.S. Postal Service package. Glover then drove to a “known drug house,” the warrant said.

Jaynes claimed he had verified through a U.S. Postal Inspector that Glover had been receiving packages at Taylor’s home. He said he had also observed Taylor’s white 2016 Chevy Impala parked several times in front of a home on Elliott Avenue.

The house at 2424 Elliott Ave., a known “trap house,” was the primary target of the drug investigation.

Jaynes was placed on administrative reassignment, however, after questions were raised about the validity of the warrant to search Taylor’s apartment. A Louisville-based postal inspector told WDRB that Louisville detectives did not use his office to confirm any of the suspects in the drug case were receiving packages at Taylor’s home.

Read the search warrant below, courtesy of the Courier Journal.

A separate law enforcement agency did seek information on Taylor’s address in January, but Inspector Tony Gooden said his office found no sign of suspicious mail going to Taylor’s apartment.

“There’s no packages of interest going there,” Gooden told the news station.

He said it was possible but unlikely that police asked a postal inspector from another jurisdiction for aid, WDRB reported. If they had, Gooden said his office would have been notified by the outside jurisdiction.

The outcome of the investigation into Jaynes' statements has not been made public.

Police found no drugs or cash hidden at Taylor’s apartment after she was killed.

Claim: The officers failed to properly announce themselves

The warrant for Taylor’s home was secured as a “no-knock” warrant, which allows police to enter a home without announcing themselves. Mattingly said in his recorded statement to investigators, however, that he and his team were told to knock on the door and announce themselves.

By the time they were ready to search Taylor’s home, drug agents had determined Taylor was a “soft target,” meaning she was neither a threat nor a major player in the drug probe. An image Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine shared with the Courier Journal shows a whiteboard on which drug agents planned the raids.

While the Elliott Avenue locations were listed under “no-knock warrants,” Taylor’s address was listed under “knock and announce.”

“They said they did not believe she had children or animals, but they weren’t sure,” Mattingly said. “Said she should be there alone because they knew where their target (Glover) was.”

Listen to Jonathan Mattingly’s interview with detectives below, courtesy of WHAS in Louisville.

What the officers did not know is that Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was spending the night. Walker told detectives that he and Taylor had watched a movie, which she dozed off on.

Her last words to him before falling asleep were to ask him to turn off the TV.

There have been conflicting statements on whether the officers announced themselves as they broke down Taylor’s door. Walker himself confirms that they did knock on the door that night.

He and Taylor awoke to the knocking, and she asked who was at the door, he said. There was no response. Moments later, Walker said, the door was coming off at the hinges.

Listen to Kenneth Walker’s interview with detectives below, courtesy of WHAS.

Walker, who thought it was a home invasion, grabbed his legal handgun and fired a shot toward the intruders. Police officials have said that bullet struck Mattingly in the leg, nearly severing the officer’s femoral artery.

Mattingly, Hankison and Cosgrove unleashed a barrage of more than 20 bullets, killing Taylor.

Cameron said during Wednesday’s news conference that a witness claimed to have heard the officers announce themselves. Both Taylor’s lawyers and The New York Times found at least 11 neighbors, however, who said they did not hear the officers announce that they were the police.

Walker’s attorney, Steven Romines, told CNN on Wednesday that the neighbor to whom Cameron referred initially said he did not hear the officers announce themselves. It was only after a third interview that he said he heard the announcement.

Walker, who was initially charged with attempted murder for shooting Mattingly, has filed a civil lawsuit claiming false arrest. The charges against him were later dropped.

Steven Romines, attorney for Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, claims the prosecutors in the case “cherry-picked” evidence.

“They presented whatever evidence they chose … to get the indictment that they wanted and it is a tragedy." https://t.co/03xm6HFznr pic.twitter.com/wTr3JFaBa1

&mdash CNN (@CNN) September 24, 2020

Claim: Officers arrested their actual target hours before Taylor was shot

As discussed above, critics on social media claimed that Glover, the main target of the drug probe, had been arrested sometime before officers broke down Taylor’s door.

In his recorded statement to investigators, Mattingly said the warrants were served at the same time at the Elliott Avenue homes and Taylor’s apartment on Springfield Drive. Court records obtained by the Louisville Courier Journal show that the search warrant was executed at Taylor’s apartment at 12:40 a.m. on March 13.

Glover’s arrest citation lists the time of the offense as 12:40 a.m., but his arrest was stamped 2:43 a.m., the newspaper reported.

Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing Taylor’s family, alleged in the lawsuit, however, that police initially recorded the time of Glover’s arrest as around midnight. He accused police officials of changing that time to make it match the time of the raid at Taylor’s apartment.

Claim: Taylor was asleep in her bed when she was killed

According to Walker, he and Taylor were asleep in bed when the banging on the door began. Walker, who thought it might have been Glover at the door, said he was afraid.

Taylor twice called out: “Who is it?” They heard no response, Walker told investigators.

Both she and Walker got up and threw some clothes on as they stepped out of the bedroom, he told investigators.

Breonna Taylor A doorway at St. Anthony Gardens in Louisville, Ky., shows the layout of the entrance to the apartment where Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by police March 13, 2020, after they broke down her door. Taylor lived at 3003 Springfield Drive, Apartment 4. (Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images)

Again, Taylor called out “at the top of her lungs,” asking who was at the door. By that time, Walker said, he was also demanding to know who was there.

Taylor was standing in her hallway when the door was broken down and the gunfire began. Cameron said Wednesday that she was shot six times.

She fell to the floor of the hallway. Crime scene photos made available for the Hulu/FX documentary, “The New York Times Presents: The Killing of Breonna Taylor,” shows blood spatter on the walls and the blood-soaked carpet where Taylor lay after she was killed.

Though the Jefferson County coroner has said that Taylor likely died within a minute of being shot, Walker claimed that he could hear her coughing and struggling to breathe for at least five minutes. In his 911 call following the shooting, he is heard weeping over Taylor’s body.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” a distraught Walker says. “Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”

Listen to portions of Walker’s 911 call below in a preview for the Hulu/FX documentary, which aired Sept. 4.

Walker also had time to call Taylor’s mother before police ordered him out of the apartment and, eventually, checked on Taylor’s status.

“(Officers are) yelling like, ‘Come out, come out,’ and I’m on the phone with her,” Walker said in a police interview hours after the shooting. “I’m still yelling ‘help’ because she’s over here coughing and, like, I’m just freaking out.”

Records obtained by the Courier Journal show that Taylor lay untouched by police or paramedics for more than 20 minutes after she was shot.

Verdict: Partially true

Claim: Taylor lived with a drug dealer and was herself involved in dealing

Critics on social media have said that if Taylor had not been living with a drug dealer or been involved in dealing, she would not have been killed.

The truth is, it is Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Glover, who is an alleged drug dealer. Walker, who was Taylor’s boyfriend at the time of her death, has no history of drug-related crimes.

Neither did Walker live at Taylor’s apartment at St. Anthony Gardens. Taylor shared the home with her 20-year-old sister, Juniyah Palmer, who was out of town the night of the shooting.

Breonna Taylor Kenneth Walker, pictured at right, has filed a lawsuit against Louisville, Ky., police and city officials alleging false arrest the night of March 13, 2020, when his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, was shot and killed by police during a raid at her apartment. (Family photo courtesy Ben Crump, AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Aguiar initially told the Courier Journal that Taylor and Glover dated two years before her death and maintained a “passive” friendship since their breakup.

An internal police memo leaked to the newspaper indicated that Taylor still maintained more extensive ties with Glover. Transcripts of recorded jail calls made by Glover show that he called Taylor Jan. 3 after an arrest and asked her to contact one of his co-defendants about bail money.

Taylor told Glover the man was “already at the trap,” slang for a drug house. Glover asked her to be on standby to pick him up if he made bail, the Courier Journal reported.

“Love you,” Glover told her as the call ended.

“Love you too,” Taylor responded.

In a jail call Glover made hours after his March 13 arrest and Taylor’s shooting death, he told his girlfriend that Taylor was holding cash for him and that she’d been “handing all (his) money.”

No cash was found at Taylor’s home after her death, however.

Breonna Taylor Jamarcus Glover (Louisville Metro Jail)

In an exclusive Aug. 26 interview with the Courier Journal, Glover denied that Taylor ever was involved in selling drugs.

“The police are trying to make it out to be my fault and turning the whole community out here, making it look like I brought this to Breonna’s door,” Glover said. “There was nothing never there or anything ever there, and at the end of the day, they went about it the wrong way and lied on that search warrant and shot that girl out there.”

The Washington Post also pointed out that Louisville police officials themselves have described the leaked memo as an early, unverified draft written in the middle of the investigation.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said after the Courier Journal’s report on the memo that the leak was an effort to "sway opinion and impact the investigation.

“Breonna Taylor’s death was a tragedy. Period,” Fischer said, according to NBC News. “It is deeply reckless for this information, which presents only a small fraction of the entire investigation, to be shared with the media while the criminal process remains ongoing.”

Listen to Juniyah Palmer talk to VICE News about her sister.

Breonna Taylor’s Sister on Losing Her Best Friend, the Movement, and Justice

"Her name got smotherd because there's no video attached to my sister." Breonna Taylor's sister, Juniyah Palmer, on losing her best friend, the movement, and justice.

Posted by VICE on Monday, July 20, 2020

Claim: Taylor was an EMT at the time of her death

Taylor has often been described as an emergency medical technician, or EMT.

Personnel records show that was not the case at the time of her death.

According to WAVE in Louisville, Taylor worked for the city from January to November of 2016. She became an EMT that June and worked in that capacity for about five months.

The documents viewed by the news station indicated she resigned in November, and a box on her termination form states “do not rehire.” The city declined to say why that box was checked.

Her family has said she remained a medical worker after her time as a paramedic, working as an emergency room technician. She planned to study to become a nurse.

At the time of her death, Taylor was working as an ER tech at both the University of Louisville Health’s Jewish Hospital East and Norton Healthcare.

Breonna Taylor Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed March 13, 2020, by police in a botched raid at her Louisville, Ky., home. One former police officers has been indicted for shooting wildly into the apartment of Taylor's neighbor that night. No one has been charged in Taylor's death. (Family photo via attorney Benjamin Crump)


Today In History

Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, is shot and killed by police in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment after officers busted through her door with a battering ram .

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, both of whom had no criminal records, had been asleep in bed. Walker, who later stated he feared an intruder had broken in, used his legally owned gun to fire one shot, which wounded Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly and officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, all white and in plainclothes, returned fire, blindly shooting 32 times in the dark, striking Taylor six times.

According to The New York Times, Louisville police had received a court-approved no-knock warrant to search the apartment for signs of drug trafficking while investigating Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. Those orders were changed to "knock and announce" before the raid, the newspaper reports. The police involved stated they complied with the warrant, but Walker said he heard no such announcement.

"Somebody kicked in the door, shot my girlfriend," Walker told a dispatcher in a call to 911.

The three officers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Walker was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer, a charge that was dropped May 22, as the FBI, Department of Justice and Kentucky attorney general began their own investigations, according to the Times. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Following an internal investigation, Hankison was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department June 23 for violating procedure and was indicted by a grand jury on September 23 on three counts of wanton endangerment, as bullets he fired entered a neighboring apartment with people inside. He pleaded not guilty. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron told the grand jury that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning fire. No charges were brought against either man.

Following Taylor's death and subsequent national protests, including a viral social media campaign with the hashtag #SayHerName and outcries from celebrities, civil rights activists and political leaders, no-knock warrants were banned in Louisville in an ordinance known as “Breonna’s Law.” The city also agreed to pay her family a historic $12 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit settlement.


Records Show How Police Ended Up Raiding Breonna Taylor’s Home

Court records show how police ended up raiding the home of shooting victim Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. Authorities suggested that the actual subject of their narcotics investigation was using her residence to get mail, and store drugs and money, according to records obtained by USA Today.

That suspect, Jamarcus Glover, picked up a “suspected USPS package” from her apartment in January, then drove to a “known drug house,” Detective Joshua Jaynes wrote in an affidavit. A U.S. postal investigator confirmed that Glove had been getting packages at Taylor’s home, the investigator wrote.

Tayor, an EMT, was shot eight times and killed by police while at home with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker on March 13. Walker had opened fire first, injuring a sergeant in the leg. He’s been charged with attempted murder. His lawyer has argued this was a botched police raid. Lawyer Rob Eggert said that police forced their way into the home without announcing their presence and opened fire at least 22 times. His client was startled awake by police, and believed that someone was breaking into the residence. In others words, his actions were in self-defense.

“Had Breonna Taylor been killed by anyone except police, the person or persons responsible for her death would have been charged with a homicide,” he said.

Police had claimed that they knocked on Taylor’s door several times, and said who they were. Attorneys for Taylor’s family has joined in saying this is all law enforcement’s fault. They are suing, claiming that neighbors said cops didn’t identify themselves or knock. Relatives have dismissed the idea that Taylor was involved in drug trafficking.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Lamont Washington previously declined to comment Walker’s and Taylor’s story when reached by Law&Crime, saying it “it would be inappropriate for us to comment beyond what we already have said immediately following the incident.”

The newly reported records show that the warrant was “no-knock,” with police suggesting that they needed it because “these drug traffickers have a history” of trying to destroy evidence, they have a history of running from law enforcement, and cameras at the spot would’ve tipped them off about the detectives approaching. There were no drugs found in the apartment, and neither Taylor, nor Walker had a criminal history, let along drug convictions, according to USA Today.

There’s no body cam footage of the raid: officers with the Criminal Interdiction Division, who executed the search warrant, don’t wear cameras, police chief Steve Conrad said.