LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of slain Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor, has filed a lawsuit claiming false arrest the night police officers killed her, and he is also claiming that his bullet was not the one that injured one of the officers.
Walker, 28, was asleep in bed with Taylor at her Louisville apartment the night of March 13 when three Louisville officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Detective Brett Hankison, broke down her door to serve a search warrant as part of a drug investigation.
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.
Taylor, 26, was shot at least five times when the officers returned fire, unleashing a barrage of bullets that riddled her apartment, as well as the apartment next door. She died on the floor of her hallway.
Her killing has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.
Walker was initially charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer. The charges were later dropped, but they were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning they could be refiled sometime in the future.
“I was raised by a good family. I am a legal gun owner and I would never knowingly shoot a police officer,” Walker said Tuesday, speaking out publicly for the first time since Taylor’s death.
He was flanked by his parents and his civil attorneys, Steve Romines and Frederick Moore. As Walker prepared to speak, he wore a face mask emblazoned with Taylor’s name.
“Breonna and I did not know who was banging on the door — but the police know what they did,” Walker said. “The charges brought against me were meant to silence me and cover up Breonna’s murder.
“For her and those that I love, I can no longer remain silent.”
Watch Walker speak below, courtesy of WHAS in Louisville.
Read Walker’s lawsuit against police and city officials below, courtesy of attorney Steve Romines.
According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Walker’s lawsuit seeks immunity from prosecution under Kentucky’s “stand your ground” law, which prevents prosecution when a person is legally acting in self-defense. The goal is to relieve him from the legal limbo he is in as he waits to see if police will again charge him in connection with the botched raid.
He is also seeking unspecified monetary damages from the city and the Louisville Metro Police Department for assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and negligence, the newspaper reported.
Romines told reporters Tuesday that evidence indicates it may not have been Walker’s bullet that struck the officer. It has previously been said that the officers fired more than 20 shots into Taylor’s home but on Tuesday, Romines indicated there were more than twice as many bullets fired.
The attorney said that 911 calls from neighbors, as well as police radio transmissions, indicate that there were two separate volleys of gunfire about 68 seconds apart.
“The radio transmission and the 911 calls reflect that a minute and eight seconds transpires with no shots before they start shooting into the apartment again,” Romines told the Courier Journal. “During that time, Hankison yells ‘reload.’”
He indicated that Hankison could be heard on one of the 911 calls. Transcripts of 911 calls from Taylor’s neighbors shows that a neighbor heard the order, as well.
“They just unloaded and I heard somebody yell again, reload,” the document says.
Read the transcripts here. Warning: Some of the calls contained explicit language.
None of the officers have been criminally charged, but Hankison was fired June 23 for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment.
Interim police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in Hankison’s termination letter that the officer “failed to be cognizant of the direction in which your firearm was discharged. Some of the rounds (he) fired actually traveled into the apartment next to Ms. Taylor’s, endangering the three lives in that apartment.”
After the gunfire, it took more than a minute for anyone to report that Mattingly had been shot.
“It was not reported that an officer was shot until after the second volley of gunshots,” Romines told reporters. “Yet police have alleged all along that Kenneth’s one shot somehow hit Officer Mattingly.
“We absolutely do not concede that fact. It is obviously possible, but until we see the ballistics report and it reflects that, we think it is much more likely that one of the 35 to 45 shots fired by LMPD is what struck Officer Mattingly. Especially based on the fact that it was not reported that he was shot until over a minute and a half after the raid began.”
The Courier Journal reported that crime scene photos show no blood in Taylor’s living room or in the breezeway just outside the apartment, where Mattingly said he was shot. The hollow point bullet Walker fired also had no signs of blood on it, the newspaper said.
Romines told the paper that, based on consultation with multiple pathologists, that hollow point bullet would have done “considerably” more damage to Mattingly’s leg if he had been struck by it.
The attorney said Tuesday that police officials tried to pin responsibility for Taylor’s death on Walker to cover up their officers’ failings.
“He’s from a good family. His father’s retired Army. His mother worked for (Jefferson County Public Schools). Kenny’s never been in trouble in his life,” Romines said. “And the police want you to believe that at almost 1 o’clock one evening, he says, ‘My first foray into the criminal justice world, I’m gonna try to shoot a cop.’ It’s a ridiculous position.”
“What is more believable is, they didn’t announce they were police, just as a dozen neighbors said, ‘I never heard them say they were police,’ and then after this goes bad, they have to say, ‘Oh, we said we were cops and he had to hear us, and therefore he shot us.’”
Romines said the lawsuit seeks to hold the police responsible for using the criminal justice system to justify Taylor’s killing.
Police officials have said that the officers targeted Taylor’s apartment because of surveillance that indicated she might have been holding drugs or cash for her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who was the main target of the drug investigation.
Nothing criminal was found in her apartment following her death.
Glover, who was at one point offered a plea deal that implicated Taylor as part of his “organized crime syndicate,” recently told the Louisville Courier Journal that Taylor had no involvement in the drug trade.
“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,” Glover told the newspaper.
Romines on Tuesday said shoddy surveillance by Mattingly and the other officers failed to detect that Walker was in the apartment with Taylor, who they expected to find alone when they broke down her door. Taylor’s younger sister also lived in the apartment, but was out of town that night.
“Police report that they had surveilled the house and there was no one else there,” the attorney said. “There’s a (6-foot, 3-inch) gentleman who had been there all day. I mean, there absolutely could have been children there, there could have been anybody there.
“When you’re executing a no-knock search warrant and you’ve got guns and all these type things, you’d better know who is there. It is back to just the negligence, the recklessness and the sloppy nature of this entire raid.”
Romines said that, nearly six months later, authorities are “still trying to figure out” what happened the night Taylor was killed, yet Walker was arrested after three hours – because his alleged guilt “fit their narrative.”
The Courier Journal reported that the lawsuit seeks the names of officers Walker said mistreated him during his arrest. One officer threatened to unleash a K-9 on him if he didn’t drop to his knees, the suit claims.
Walker begged the officer not to let the dog go, the newspaper reported.
Another officer told Walker he was “going to jail for the rest of (his) life,” the suit alleges. A third officer asked if Walker had been struck during the gunfire.
Walker said no.
“Oh, that’s unfortunate,” the officer said, according to the lawsuit.
Moore talked Tuesday about the trauma and humiliation Walker has suffered in the nearly six months since Taylor was killed.
“His entire life has changed,” Moore said. “Not only is the love of his life gone, right? He has to deal with that. But let’s talk about the potential psychological effects of being shot at that many times in the dark. And the trust, or lack thereof now, of the criminal justice system.
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