Louisville, KY – The governor of Kentucky and the Louisville police chief have asked federal authorities to review the internal affairs investigation into what happened when officers served a search warrant at the home of former EMT Breonna Taylor.
Records showed that members of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department’s (LMPD) Criminal Interdiction Division obtained a “no-knock” search warrant for Taylor’s home on March 12 related to her involvement in a narcotics investigation, the Courier-Journal reported.
The plan was to serve the search warrant at the same time other members of the Criminal Interdiction Division were serving an arrest warrant for Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, at his home on Elliott Avenue, 10 miles away.
LMPD suspected Glover had been selling drugs out of his residence on Elliott Avenue but using Taylor’s address to receive mail, store drugs, or stash money he made selling drugs, the Courier-Journal reported.
LMPD Detective Joshua Jaynes said in an affidavit summarizing the investigation for the warrants that officers had seen Glover go into Taylor apartment in January and leave with a “suspected USPS package in his right hand.”
The affidavit said Glover went from Taylor’s apartment to a “known drug house” on Muhammad Ali Boulevard, the Courier-Journal reported.
Det. Jaynes said he was able to verify through the U.S. Postal Service that Glover had in fact been receiving packages at Taylor’s address.
“Affiant knows through training and experience that it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to receive mail packages at different locations to avoid detection from law enforcement,” he wrote in the affidavit, according to the Courier-Journal.
Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said Taylor had dated Glover two years earlier and maintained a “passive friendship” with him.
But officers reported seeing Taylor’s vehicle parked in front of Glover’s home on Elliott Avenue multiple times n 2020, and said that as of February, Glover was listing Taylor’s apartment as his “current home address,” the Courier-Journal reported.
LMPD Lieutenant Ted Eidem, the commander of the Public Integrity Unit, said three plainclothes detectives served the narcotics investigation’s “no-knock” search warrant at 12:40 a.m. on March 13.
A “no-knock” warrant means police are not required to wait before entering a property.
However, Lt. Eidem said the LMPD detectives who served the warrant at Taylor’s apartment knocked and announced themselves anyway.
“Officers knocked on the door several times and announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant,” he told reporters at a press conference the afternoon of March 13. “The officers forced entry into the exterior door and were immediately met by gunfire. Sergeant [John] Mattingly sustained a gunshot wound and returned fire.”
Lt. Eidem said the other two detectives with Sgt. Mattingly also returned fire.
“The other officers were able to move Sgt. Mattingly and themselves to safety,” he explained. “The officers then gave verbal commands and the man later identified as Kenneth Walker exited the residence and surrendered to officers.”
Lt. Eidem said officers found Taylor unresponsive inside the apartment. She died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Records showed that police who served the arrest warrant on Glover at the Elliott Avenue address at about the same time recovered “several ounces of suspected crack cocaine, marijuana, and U.S. currency,” the Courier-Journal reported.
Walker was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a police officer and assault in the first degree, The New York Times reported.
His attorney has said that he didn’t know the men entering the apartment were police officers when he shot at them.
Walker’s father said in an affidavit that no drugs were found in the apartment during the search, but LMPD has not confirmed that information, NPR reported.
Taylor’s family’s local attorney has said that Walker had a license for the weapon he used to shoot Sgt. Mattingly, The New York Times reported.
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad told reporters at the press conference after the incident that the detectives had not been wearing bodycams.
Chief Conrad said some members of the Criminal Interdiction Division do not wear bodycams.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Wine recused himself from the investigation into the incident on Wednesday and asked state officials to appoint a special prosecutor since he is already prosecuting Walker, NBC News reported.
Later that same day, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced he had been asked to serve as special prosecutor and said he would “take appropriate action” if necessary, NBC News reported.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief Conrad have also asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to review the internal investigation conducted by Lt. Eidem’s team.
Notorious attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown families, filed a lawsuit against Sgt. Mattingly and the two other detectives involved in the raid that left Taylor dead on behalf of Taylor’s family, NPR reported.
News outlets reported on claims surrounding the lawsuit, including inaccurate claims that the warrant was for Glover’s arrest rather than a search warrant for the residence.
Crump has since released a statement challenging the claim that detectives verified that Glover had been receiving packages at Taylor’s address.
“Louisville postal inspector Tony Gooden asserted that the LMPD did not use his office to verify that a drug suspect delivered packages to Breonna Taylor’s address, which directly contradicts what the police stated in the affidavit to secure a no-knock warrant for the home,” Crump’s statement said, according to WAVE.