Let’s get it out there. Police make mistakes. These mistakes are usually short and quickly resolved by their departments or the courts. Sometimes those mistakes are permanent, like in the case of Breonna Taylor, who was unfortunately gunned down by police as they entered her apartment shortly after midnight one night in March 2020.
When I first heard of this case, I too jumped on the murder bandwagon. Taylor’s case was different. She was unarmed, it was the middle of the night, and the plethora of misinformation disseminated about the case led me to the conclusion that the police were not only at fault but also culpable in a cover-up. I heard stories of her being shot through a window while she lay asleep in her bed and of a no-knock raid in the middle of the night where police opened fire first and asked questions later. Other stories said it was the wrong apartment and that police still did not announce themselves after being asked, “Who is there?” It made me sick to my stomach.
As details emerged we learned that Kenneth Walker, Breonna’s boyfriend, had a gun and had fired the first shots at police. I still found myself falling on the side of Walker (a legal gun owner) and Taylor because if someone (even police) entered my home after midnight, unannounced, I too would have shot – and maybe even killed – a cop. When I found out that none of the three cops involved had body cameras on, even though they all were wearing mounts for them, I became increasingly angry. How could this happen?
When the Grand Jury found that only one of the three officers involved (who had already been fired by the department) was being charged and that that charge wasn’t murder, I was furious. And then I began reading the details coming out of the case, and I began to question just how much misinformation I had been fed.
The first “new” detail was that Breonna was awake when she was shot. Not only was she awake, but she was in the hallway of the apartment, between Kenneth Walker and police, meaning she likely was caught in the crossfire. It also means that Walker likely fired around Taylor, and police may have thought the shots were being fired by Taylor. Furthermore, (though it had been released earlier and I had missed it) the warrant issued in this case showed Breonna Taylor (and her vehicle) listed on it.
The warrant was applied for by an officer who did not participate in the raid, which was then approved by a Louisville Judge, Mary Shaw. That warrant did approve a no-knock raid, which is supported by neighbors who say they never heard an announcement. One neighbor allegedly did, but only heard the announcement once. Neighbors and Kenneth Walker also say they heard Taylor demanding to know who was banging on the door after midnight.
The warrant continues by detailing drug dealing activities of Breonna’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, with whom Taylor had been involved in a long on-again, off-again relationship. Glover’s partner in crime was Adrian Walker, who was also on the warrant but is unrelated to Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend. Glover had apparently made several trips to Taylor’s apartment, drawing attention from investigators in Glover’s case. Glover, the day he was arrested, told someone visiting him in jail that Taylor had been handling all the money for Glover and that at the time of his arrest Taylor was in possession of $8,000 of Glover’s money. Taylor had also bailed Glover out on previous dates and may have been conducting a side relationship with Glover, of which Kenneth Walker was not aware.
The problem that exists is that none of that justifies a post-midnight raid. Taylor’s apartment was never accused of being the place any of the drug deals went down, but still, police raided the apartment at that time. Lazy police work led to a failure to mention that Kenneth Walker was living there at the time too.
The question that keeps coming to my mind is this: What evidence, besides a few visits from Glover, justified the middle of the night raid on Taylor’s apartment? Certainly, Kenneth Walker was well within his right to fire upon the invaders, as were the police in responding to what they thought was an imminent deadly threat.
But the question that keeps coming to my mind is, why were they there then? Would surveillance on the apartment not have returned the same result (an arrest and search of the apartment) without the bashing down of doors after midnight? What threat did Taylor or Walker pose to them?
Ultimately, had Police NOT been there at that time, Breonna may very well still be alive. Do I think it was murder anymore? No. But I believe, from the evidence I have seen, that it likely amounts to a wrongful death situation, which has already been settled in the courts. Regardless, it still doesn’t bring Breonna back.