LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Exactly four months have passed since the night Breonna Taylor died in her apartment after being shot by a Louisville Metro Police officer trying to serve a warrant at her home on March 13, 2020. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, admitted to firing at LMPD Officer John Mattingly, which prompted Mattingly and Officer Miles Cosgrove to fire back, striking Taylor.
Walker said he thought the police officers were home intruders. He wasn’t hurt during the shootout.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Monday he has the information in the investigation gathered in the case to see what happened the night Taylor died, but he says he needs more time to assess it.
The case started gaining national attention in May when Attorney Ben Crump signed onto a civil lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family against the Louisville Metro Police Department. Crump has been involved in a number of other high profile cases including those for Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.
“This was a botched execution of a search warrant,” Crump said in one of his first interviews about the case.
After public demands for an independent investigation, the case was handed over to the FBI and Cameron’s office. Shortly after, on May 23, the announcement was made that charges were being dropped against Walker for shooting at Officer Mattingly.
As part of the press conference on Walker’s release, Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine released Walker’s 911 call and played audio clips of Walker and Mattingly’s interviews after the shooting. In the recordings, Walker said the night Taylor died, they had fallen asleep 10 minutes before hearing banging at her apartment door before getting dressed.
“There’s another knock at the door,” Walker detailed. “She’s yelling at the top of her lungs and I am too at this point, ‘Who is it?' No answer, no response or anything.”
While Walker did not deny hearing knocking at the door, he maintained he did not know it was the police, even while on the phone with 911 dispatchers after the shooting or while being taken into custody.
“We were in bed,” Walker said in the recordings. “We didn’t know who it was. We were scared.”
Three days after Wine’s press conference, protests began in Louisville, and people gathered with a peaceful message of justice, accountability and reform.
Then, on May 29, things changed as the peaceful protesters were replaced by rioters and looters who came out at night. The city was then in turmoil. Downtown businesses were destroyed and violence erupted.
Taylor’s family urged for the looting and violence to stop.
“If you are going to continue to protest and continue to protest behind her name,” Taylor’s cousin, Trina Curry said, “then just make it peaceful. That’s all that we ask.”
On June 1, local restaurant owner David McCatee was fatally shot by National Guardsmen after police say he fired more than one round toward them. The National Guard and LMPD were clearing the scene of a crowd at a business across the street before the gunfire erupted.
Despite public outcry that the LMPD officers in the Taylor case were not wearing body cameras, the officers involved in the McAtee shooting also did not have body cameras. The backlash led to the firing of LMPD Chief Steve Conrad a few days later.
Multiple rallies, protests, and vigils continued to take place honoring Taylor, including on June 5, which would have been her 27th birthday.
In the second week of June, Breonna’s Law was passed by the Louisville Metro Council, banning the use of no-knock warrants by LMPD.
Days later, LMPD Officer Brett Hankison was fired for allegedly shooting multiple rounds into Taylor’s apartment through closed blinds, as first seen in exclusive pictures obtained WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters.
Unrest in the city continued as some LMPD officers accused Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer of telling them to stand down, even as they feared protesters and innocent people and businesses were in danger at the hands of rioters. Fischer denies ever giving a stand-down order.
During an officer roll-call, more than 200 officers walked out on Fischer in a protest of their own, which was captured on video. Officers booed the mayor before walking out, feeling unsupported and critical of what they perceived as a lack of transparency in the Taylor case.
Around the same time, protesters began occupying Jefferson Square and camping there overnight.
On June 27, a local photographer, Tyler Gerth, was shot while documenting the protests there. Cell phone and surveillance videos captured the moment when the suspect, Steven Lopez, grabbed a protester’s gun and fired shots into the crowd, striking Gerth. Lopez was camping at the park and had been thrown out by other protesters before for his erratic behavior. The city then cleared the campsite, while some city workers threw the protesters’ items away in what city officials called a “miscommunication.”
In the first week of July, the lawsuit in the Taylor case was amended to include new allegations that a real-estate development and neighborhood revision plan called the Vision Russell Project was behind the drug warrants issued at Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover’s home on Elliott Avenue. The lawsuit states the city wanted to clear the area of low-income people like Glover to gentrify the area. Those are claims Fischer has denied.
In a letter to the Mayor, eight members of the Metro Council demanded the mayor’s office provide them any documentation related to the Vision Russell Project and an LMPD squad called Placed Based Investigations, or PBI, which was named on previous drug warrants on Glover’s Elliott Avenue home. In response, Fischer held his own press conference in which he denied any member of his administration, Develop Louisville or Community Development had conversations with LMPD about clearing the neighborhood around Elliot Avenue out.
A spokesperson for the mayor later emailed a clarification stating that the city identified Elliott Avenue as an area in need of stabilization and revitalization and that the first line of work is through the city’s Codes and Regulations department to address things like high grass and broken windows.
“So of course, Develop Louisville is in regular conversation with LMPD about communities they are working in. They were before PBI and after,” the email stated. The email did not specifically name Glover’s home.
Two days later on July 10, protesters showed up to another press conference demanding Fischer resign, based on the Elliott Avenue allegations listed in the lawsuit.
Mayor Fischer has repeatedly called the allegations ‘outrageous’ and simply ‘not true.’ Sunday, he issued a letter to Metro Council members saying he will comply with providing them with documentation about the Elliott Avenue Project.
The Government Accountability Committee, part of the Metro Council, is scheduled to discuss the status of their investigations into the development project during a hearing Tuesday.