LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A single home in the Russell neighborhood is now at the center of the latest lawsuit filed by the lawyers of Breonna Taylor's family.
It claims a city development project started a domino effect that eventually led to Taylor being killed. The 26-year-old former EMT was shot dead when LMPD officers served a narcotics warrant at her home in March. Officers Jon Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison are named in the suit.
The city and community organizers are denying such a project is to blame.
Law Mar Inc. owned 2424 Elliott Avenue, the home police said suspected drug dealer Jamarcus Glover -- an ex-boyfriend of Taylor’s -- lived in and that a lawsuit claims the city wanted him out of so it could redevelop the block.
Mayor Greg Fischer’s office called the allegation “outrageous,” and said the lawsuit “mischaracterized” the project.
WAVE 3 News found the owner, who said he has owned properties for more than 50 years. He said this is the most aggressive he’s seen the city go after a home.
The lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family said police went on a crusade to remove people from Elliott Avenue, specifically the 2424 address. The Rev. Bo Paul Anthony Stillwell and his non-profit Keeping It Real is working with the city on community engagement on the Vision Russell Transformation Plan.
“Wouldn’t you be concerned if people come in your neighborhood and lie about it?” Stillwell asked. “They’re not telling the truth (in the lawsuit). I don’t know if he bumped into Donald Trump or if it’s a Pinocchio situation with him, but what he said here is not the truth.”
WAVE 3 News reviewed a stack of notices and citations sent to the property owner. Law Mar Inc. started receiving notices from the Department of Codes and Regulations about its tenants in January. The first notice said activities in the home qualified as a public nuisance. It stated that last December, an investigation found trafficking of weapons and drugs at the home. If nothing was changed, it would be deemed a public nuisance with penalties and criminal fines up to $1,000 a day for Law Mar Inc.
The owner said he never had issues with the tenants. He said he improved the building, and saw no signs of criminal activity. He said he didn’t have a reason to evict his tenants until he received notices from the city. The home was deemed a nuisance a week before Taylor was killed on March 13. Just a short time before officers arrived at Taylor’s home on Springfield Drive, Glover was arrested at his Elliott Avenue address in connection with the same drug investigation.
Kenneth Plotnik, who represents Law Mar Inc., said that because of the coronavirus, tenants couldn’t be evicted at the time. The city issued another violation connected to the warrants on March 13, just hours before the raids on both and Glover’s and Taylor’s homes.
Law Mar Inc. then sent Glover and the other tenants an eviction letter and terminated the lease. On April 13, the city sent yet another letter saying it had to vacate because of controlled substances found there again in early April.
“The mayor’s commitment to us has been consistent.” Stillwell said. “We’ve been working with him since (2009) and he’s been consistently on point about improving the west end. Not trying to kill somebody or hurrying up to get some properties closed.”
Law Mar Inc. said drugs are common on Elliott Avenue. The company didn’t want to go up against the city so it handed the home over for free. WAVE 3 News reached out to the Department of Codes and Regulations to answer additional questions but has not heard back yet.