The Kentucky police major in charge of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor reportedly inserted herself in the investigation and coerced detectives for information, according to recently-released documents.
As the Louisville Courier-Journal reports, Louisville Metro police Seargent Jason Vance of the Public Integrity Unit called attention to Major Kimberly Burbrink’s involvement in Taylor’s case in a July 2 investigative case summary. The document stated that investigators became alarmed about Burbink’s behavior during a May 14 video meeting with department leaders in which she characterized herself as “an informational witness.”
Burbrink was also accused of questioning investigators about their findings. Following the May 14 call, a deputy chief admitted it was a mistake to include Burbrink in the meeting, according to the news outlet.
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The Courier-Journal reported that Burbrink oversees the Criminal Interdiction Division — the department that served the warrant at Taylor’s apartment on March 13.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released the investigative file and other documents connected to the fatal officer-involved shooting on Wednesday. NBC News reports that the documents also show that Louisville police attempted to gather potentially negative information about Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 27, following the deadly shooting.
According to the news outlet, an investigative memo stated that internal affairs began examining text messages and pictures in Walker’s phone in late May. Two pictures in Walker’s phone allegedly showed him and Taylor with an AR-15. (Multiple reports have stated that Walker legally owned one or more firearms.) Officers reportedly also recovered text messages suggesting Walker was selling pills and marijuana between October 2019 and March.
Walker’s attorney denied allegations that his client was a drug dealer or committed a robbery.
“It’s just a cover-up. And it reflects the fact that over two months into the investigation of Breonna Taylor’s death, LMPD [was] more interested in including unsupported allegations to smear Kenny Walker than it [was] in actually finding the truth,” the lawyer said, according to NBC.
On March 13, detective Myles Cosgrove, then-officer Brett Hankison, and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly reportedly fatally shot Taylor, 26, while executing a search warrant at her home — and after Walker fired at the officers, reportedly believing they were intruders. The warrant was one of five police issued as they investigated Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. Glover was found 10 miles from Taylor’s apartment the same night as her shooting death, according to multiple reports.
Hankison, who was fired in late June, was ultimately charged with wanton endangerment for shots he allegedly fired into Taylor’s neighbor’s home, not for the shots that killed Taylor. Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged.
Louisville Metro police claimed officers announced themselves, but there has been ongoing disagreement and conflicting claims about whether Walker knew the men were police officers. Walker was initially charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree assault but prosecutors dropped the charges due to a lack of evidence.
Walker has sued Lousiville police and sought prosecutorial immunity under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Meanwhile, Hankinson is in the process of challenging his termination.
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[Featured image: Breonna Taylor/Instagram]