Perfect Angel KY Cops Very Mad Breonna Taylor's Boyfriend Made Them Shoot Her Dead
On March 13, Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep in her Louisville, Kentucky, home when the cops burst in, shooting up the place, including Taylor. Walker returned fire, wounding one of the officers. He was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer, who was shot in the leg. Taylor, an EMT worker, is dead.
Louisville Metro Police Department claim the officers had politely knocked on the door several times and "announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant." When they forced their way inside, they were “immediately met with gunfire" from Walker. The problem with the police's story is that records show the officers were issued a "no-knock" warrant that permitted them to enter Taylor's home without identifying themselves as law enforcement. The police insist they did identify themselves, but it seems like a “no-knock" warrant is the type of thing the police don't bother getting unless they're gonna use it. Neighbors dispute their claim, so it's possible unidentified cops in plainclothes and unmarked vehicles broke down the door with a battering ram. That tends to concern the average homeowner.
The police were investigating two men suspected of dealing drugs in a house more than 10 miles from Taylor's apartment in southwest Jefferson County. The warrant reportedly included Taylor's home because the police believed the suspects kept drugs and money there. No drugs were found at her house, and neither Taylor nor Walker have a criminal history or drug convictions.
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Walker had called 911 before firing at the strangers entering his home. Maybe that's something criminals do, but it seems odd.
Radley Balko has written at length about how no-knock raids are not just dangerous for everyone involved but more often than not straight-up unconstitutional. The Fourth Amendment requires that police identify themselves but “no-knock" warrants are intended to prevent suspects from disposing of evidence. Judges tend to grant these warrants with far too much ease.
Taylor's family has filed a lawsuit, which alleges wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence. The suit contends that Taylor and Walker legitimately believed the cops were burglars, who "blindly fired" at least 22 shots into the residence — some of which went into neighboring apartments. Walker, a licensed gun owner, only acted in self-defense.
The Louisville Metro Police officers union was very upset when Walker was released from jail two weeks later, at the end of March. Presumably, he'll still have a trial, but the police believed he should rot in prison.
"Not only is [Walker] a threat to the men and women of law enforcement, but he also poses a significant danger to the community we protect!" River City FOP president Ryan Nichols wrote in a Facebook Post Friday. "Home incarceration was not designed for the most violent offenders!" "I call on the public to condemn the actions of Judge Olu Stevens."
It seems like the "men and women of law enforcement" are safe from Walker as long as they don't break into his house unannounced and shoot his girlfriend dead in front of him. Those are very specific conditions that are easily avoided.
It also seems like if you encourage the Castle Doctrine, you should be prepared for people to shoot at you when you surprise them in their home in the night.
Benjamin Crump, who's representing Taylor's family, has demanded answers from the police and asked that charges against Walker are dropped.
"Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of her own home," Crump said at a Wednesday press conference, adding, "we cannot continue to allow them to unnecessarily and justifiably kill our black women and escape any accountability."
The police still won't talk about the "incident that resulted in Ms. Taylor's death" but there is a “pending Public Integrity investigation." The officers involved — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — were reassigned pending the outcome. Their prospects look better than Walker's, especially because there's no body camera footage of the shooting. The officers were members of the Criminal Interdiction division, who don't wear body cameras. It's unclear why.
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Normally when police officers kill unarmed black people, we're told it was just a “tragic accident" that probably inconvenienced the cop just as much as the dead black person. However, the Louisville police want to treat “the incident" as a one-way accident, where the police are absolved of all responsibility but Walker serves hard time. That's certainly one definition of “justice." and as Balko noted, "if you shoot at the police as they raid your home, you're almost certainly looking at criminal charges that will put you in prison for a long time." That's if you're “lucky" enough to survive the encounter.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).