The family of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, is suing the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) for the shooting of the young woman on March 13. The wrongful death suit alleges that officers used excessive force and gross negligence in the incident that resulted in Taylor’s death.
The legal filing explains the details of the encounter, which also resulted in the arrest of Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend. The suit alleges that LMPD officers Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly arrived at Taylor’s home in plainclothes and unmarked vehicles. They possessed a “no-knock” search warrant for the apartment and were searching for a suspect who lived in a different area of Louisville. The suspect had already been arrested by LMPD on the day before the incident.
The warrant named Adrian Orlandes Walker and Jamarcus Cordell Glover and indicated that the two men were observed transporting packages that were suspected of containing narcotics from Taylor’s apartment. The warrant did not include Kenneth Walker’s name as neither he nor Taylor were suspects in the case.
According to the lawsuit, “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.” Breonna Taylor died after being shot eight times. An inspection after the incident revealed that over 20 bullets had been fired into the apartment and even into a neighboring home occupied by a pregnant woman.
The plaintiffs state that Walker and Taylor “believed the home had been broken into by criminals and that they were in significant, imminent danger. The police insist that they had knocked on the door and announced themselves even though they possessed a “no-knock” warrant. They claim that after they forced entry, there were “immediately met by gunfire.”
According to reports, Walker, a licensed gun owner, fired one shot after the officers used a battering ram to break the door open. This shot hit Mattingly in the leg, and Walker is now facing charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.
Walker’s attorney told NBC News that he had tried to contact the authorities before the officers broke into the home. “They were calling 911 because they thought their home was being invaded,” he said, pointing out that the officers were not in uniform and claiming that they did not identify themselves.
The lawsuit also highlights the records of Cosgrove and Hankison and focuses on their history pertaining to use of force. According to the legal filing, Cosgrove shot a Louisville resident seven times on a separate case. Hankison was allegedly involved in “dozens of situations where he has sent citizens to the hospital for injuries from being tased, pepper sprayed and struck repeatedly in the nose and eyes.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released a statement explaining that he is waiting for the conclusion of the investigation of the case. “As always my priority is that the truth comes out, and for justice to follow the path of truth,” he said.
Governor Andy Beshear also weighed in. He posted a statement on Twitter stating that Taylor’s family and the public “deserve the full facts of her death.” He also indicated that the Department of Justice should also review the case.
There are many questions still left unanswered, and more information will emerge as the investigation progresses. The officers served in a division that does not require individuals to wear body cameras, so it will not be easy to determine which side is telling the truth. However, some are already questioning the actions of the police in approach Taylor’s home. Others are bringing up the validity of “no-knock” warrants, especially when it comes to non-violent offenses.
The LMPD found no drugs in the home, and neither Walker nor Taylor had a criminal history. Moreover, neither person was a suspect in the case. The young woman had been working as an EMT in emergency rooms at two hospitals to combat the spread of the coronavirus. “Breonna loves life, and she loved to help people, and she loved her family,” said Tamika Palmer, her mother. “She didn’t deserve what they did to her.”
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