According to USA Today, in the early morning hours of March 13, Breonna Taylor was asleep in her bed, along with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Both allegedly heard loud banging at the door: it was the Louisville Metro Police Department executing an “knock-and-announce” drug raid, with officers in plain clothes. Police burst through the door of the couple’s apartment.
What happened next is a matter of dispute. The Louisville police maintain that as soon as they opened the door, they were “met with gunfire,” allegedly by Walker, and police returned fire. Walker maintains that police never announced themselves as cops, and he believed intruders had broken into the home. He claims that he fired his gun in self-defense.
There is no surveillance footage and no police body-camera footage available of the incident to corroborate either narrative.
Regardless of which version of the events is to be believed, two things are clear: when the dust had settled, Taylor was dead, suffering at least eight gunshot wounds, and Walker was in jail, facing charges of attempted murder.
It has since been revealed that police were looking for two other men who didn’t live at the address. Neither Walker nor Taylor had any criminal history.
We’re not talking about #BreonnaTaylor enough! Louisville PD went into the WRONG COMPLEX, WRONG APARTMENT, 20 SHOTS, 8 BULLETS found in Breonna, killing her all over a “drug warrant” gone wrong. pic.twitter.com/Z4DRVM4VnZ
— ????✨ (@TheJessieWoo) May 12, 2020
Tamika Palmer, her mother, says her daughter didn’t deserve to die the way she did.
“Breonna loves life and she loved to help people and she loved her family. She didn’t deserve what they did to her,” Palmer said.
Now, the family has sued the LMPD, alleging wrongful death, excessive force, and gross negligence.
Specifically, the suit alleges that three LMPD officers, identified in the lawsuit as Myles Cosgrove, Brett Hankinson, and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, have a history of excessive force. For example, in one incident, Cosgrove shot a person seven times, and Hankinson purportedly has a history of leaving Louisville residents hospitalized via the course of his duties, either from being tased, pepper sprayed, or assaulted.
“This was a completely unnecessary and unjustifiable killing of an innocent woman,” says the family’s attorney, Ben Crump.
The LMPD, meanwhile, is carrying out its own investigation into the case. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he will withhold judgment until all of the facts of the case are known and out in the open. Similarly, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear wants justice to be served, but wants to know all of the facts as well.
Gov. Beshear issues statement on Breonna Taylor: pic.twitter.com/ttiO856BdA
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) May 13, 2020