Breonna Taylor, an aspiring nurse and EMT, was shot and killed by police in her Louisville, Ky., home on March 13. She was 26.
A lawsuit filed by her family last month says she and her boyfriend thought the police officers were burglars. He fired in self-defence, which was followed by three officers “blindly firing” more than 20 shots, the lawsuit says, per NBC News.
Taylor, who the lawsuit says was unarmed, was killed during a “botched raid,” her lawyer Ben Crump said in a statement. One police officer was wounded.
The lawsuit, according to the BBC, accuses the involved officers of wrongful death and excessive force. The officers were reportedly entering her home with a search warrant as part of a drug investigation, but no drugs were found in her home. Taylor had no prior history of drug-related offences, NBC affiliate WAVE3 says.
The lawsuit goes on to say that officers were looking for a suspect who didn’t live in Taylor’s apartment complex and was already in custody. They hadn’t been looking for Taylor or her boyfriend.
“Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands,” the lawsuit reads. “Shots were blindly fired by the officers all throughout Breonna’s home.”
One person related to the investigation, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested elsewhere on the same day, WAVE3 says, but it’s unclear if police believed a third person on the warrant, Adrian Walker, was inside the home. Taylor’s name and address, per the station, was also on the warrant.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was injured and has now been charged with attempted murder of a police officer, WAVE3 reports, adding that Walker also had no history of drugs or violence.
The three officers involved — Jon Mattingly, Brent Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove — are on administrative assignment, the broadcast station says.
During a press conference the day of the shooting, the Louisville Metro Police Department said officers “announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant,” Lt. Ted Eidem said. After forcing their way inside the home, they reportedly “were immediately met by gunfire.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear released a statement about the “initial investigation” into the incident, saying the public reports about Taylor’s death are “troubling.”
On May 12, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shared a statement on Twitter regarding the case, writing: “As always, my priority is that the truth comes out, and for justice to follow the path of truth.
“The Breonna Taylor case is currently under investigation. Therefore, expansive comments are not appropriate until all the facts are fully known.”
Leading civil rights lawyer Ben Crump is representing Taylor’s family, and has represented the families of other high-profile Black shooting victims, like Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by two white men while jogging on Feb. 23. (Arbery’s death has prompted movements like Black Lives Matter and other groups to amplify Taylor’s story, highlighting a disconnect between U.S. Black communities and the police.)
“We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department,” Crump said in a statement.
“Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the department has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing.”