The friend of Breonna Taylor on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville government and the police officers involved in the botched raid in which his girlfriend was killed, claiming law enforcement made false claims to seek a warrant to seek Taylor’s apartment and violate his constitutional rights.
Kenneth Walker’s 38-page lawsuit portrays Taylor’s death as preventable and accuses the Louisville Metro Police Department of far-reaching, problematic practices: nightly raids and a failure of officers to identify themselves clearly.
Louisville police killed Taylor, a 26-year-old paramedic, last March when she executed a search warrant at her home to search for drugs. Authorities found no illegal substances, and the case helped spark nationwide outrage and demonstrations over police treatment of minorities.
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According to his complaint, Walker was in the apartment at the time and fired a shot at the officers, which he thought were “intruders.” The officers, according to the lawsuit, “responded with a fusillade” that hit Taylor.
“Mr. Walker survived the attack but was forced to lie helplessly next to Ms. Taylor while she bled on the ground from her gunshot wounds,” the lawsuit states. “This senseless tragedy occurred because of the deliberate disregard for the constitutional rights of Mr. Walker and Ms. Taylor by the LMPD officers who planned and carried out the raid on Ms. Taylor’s apartment.”
A spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.
Walker had already filed a lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court. The lawsuit Friday was filed in u.s. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Among those representing Walker is Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a former U.S. attorney general. Taylor’s family has settled a lawsuit against the city of Louisville for unlawful homicide, which amounted to 12 million dollars separately.
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Walker’s lawsuit alleges that the search warrant used to justify the search of Taylor’s apartment was deeply flawed because it was largely based on evidence related to another address where police believed two other men, including Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, were selling drugs. According to Walker’s complaint, a detective tried to link Taylor’s apartment to the activities by falsely claiming that a US postal inspector had confirmed that her ex-boyfriend had received packages at her address.
The lawsuit also alleges that the supervisors of the Louisville Police Department had a general practice of lax surveillance of warrants and that officers were not adequately trained in the use of force.
Police initially charged Walker with shooting an officer in the leg during the raid, but prosecutors later dropped the case, and a judge dismissed him this week in a way that could not be refiled.
A grand jury in Jefferson County, Ky., last year indicted a former Louisville police officer, Brett Hankison, in connection with the case of endangering life in a neighboring housing unit. Hankison had previously been sacked in connection with the raid, as the department said he fired 10 shots “deliberately and blindly” at Taylor’s apartment, in “extreme indifference to the value of human life.”