The family of a Louisville EMT shot and killed by police officers looking for a drug suspect “blindly fired” into Breonna Taylor’s home in March “with a total disregard for the value of human life,” according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
The lawsuit was filed in April but gained national prominence this week when the family hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump, known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and most recently, Ahmaud Arbery.
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep on March 13 when three Louisville Metropolitan Police officers broke into their apartment. Walker and Taylor, 26, thought burglars were breaking in; Walker called 911, took out his own gun, and fired, wounding a police officer.
The officers responded by firing at least 20 rounds, eight of them striking Taylor. Walker was apparently not struck.
“The defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life,” the lawsuit alleges. “Shots were blindly fired by the officers all throughout Breonna’s home.”
“Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of our own home,” Crump said at a news conference on Wednesday, NPR reported. “We cannot continue to allow them to unnecessarily and justifiably kill our black women and escape any accountability.”
Officers had secured a “no-knock” warrant for Taylor’s apartment, looking for a drug suspect named Jamarcus Glover, who had allegedly dated Taylor about two years earlier. Glover was found about 10 miles away and arrested at almost the same time officers were entering Taylor’s home, the newspaper said.
Despite having a “no-knock” warrant, LMPD said that its officers “knocked on the door several times and announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant.” According to the lawsuit, however, neighbors have provided statements saying they did not. Police searched the apartment after the shooting and found no drugs.
Walker, who has a concealed carry permit and is licensed to keep guns, was charged with attempted murder and assault for wounding a sergeant in the leg and told police he was the only person who fired. An affidavit signed by a judge within hours after the incident, however, seemed to imply that officers might have thought Taylor fired at them, the Louisville paper said.
“As the detectives attempted to make entry subject inside the residence was armed with a(n) unknown gun and fired shot striking a detective,” the affidavit said. “In the course of protecting themselves and other civilians detectives returned gunfire and struck the subject unknown number of times. The subject collapsed inside the listed residence and subsequently pronounced deceased on scene.”
Gov. Beshear issues statement on Breonna Taylor: pic.twitter.com/ttiO856BdA
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) May 13, 2020
As calls for an investigation into the shooting increased, Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney recused himself from reviewing the police department’s internal review because he is prosecuting the case against Walker. Kentucky Gov Andy Beshear, meanwhile, has called for the state’s attorney general and federal investigators to look into the case, the Courier Journal said.
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[Featured image: Breonna Taylor/Facebook]