Kenneth Walker says initial charge ‘meant to silence’ him and ’cover up Breonna’s murder’
Taylor’s boyfriend files suit; attorney alleges his client may not have shot LMPD officer in deadly March raid
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor addressed a gathering of media Tuesday, hours after he filed a lawsuit against LMPD and others, alleging police misconduct the night of the raid that left Taylor dead in the hallway of her apartment.
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Narcotics officers used a battering ram to break into Taylor’s apartment on March 13, causing Kenneth Walker, a legal gun owner, to fire what he would later call a warning shot, prompting a return volley of gunfire from the officers. Taylor was shot five times.
Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine dropped that charge in May.
Walker, 28, said in downtown Louisville on Tuesday that that charge was “meant to silence me and cover-up Breonna’s murder.”
WAVE 3 News is reviewing the 39-page lawsuit his attorney, Steve Romines, filed on Walker’s behalf. It names the three officers who fired their guns in the raid -- Sgt. Jon Mattingly and detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison. Hankison was fired in June for “blindly” firing 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment from outside. None of the officers has been criminally charged.
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The suit also names embattled Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, current Interim LMPD Chief Rob Schroeder, Wine, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and at least 10 other LMPD officers -- Joshua Jaynes, Shawn Hoover, Tony James, Michael Nobles, Michael Campbell, Michael King, Josh Doerr, Andrea Shaw, Chad Tinnell, and Amanda Seelye.
Romines said Tuesday that witness statements indicated there were two volleys of gunfire and laid out an argument suggesting that Walker’s “warning shot” may not have been the one that struck Mattingly and nearly severed his femoral artery.
“(There were) two volleys of gunfire that night, and they were about a minute and eight seconds apart,” Romines said. “It was not reported that an officer was shot until after the second volley of gunshots ... Until we see the ballistics report, we think it is much more likely that one of the 35-to-45 shots fired by LMPD is what struck Officer Mattingly.”
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911 call records released by the city from that night do show the neighbors calling to report gunfire a minute before police radio in that Mattingly had been shot. However, Wine said back in May, when he moved to drop charges, it was not friendly fire. In that same press conference, he released this snippet of Mattingly describing how he was shot.
“As I turn the doorway, he’s in a stretched out position, with his hands with a gun and as soon as I clear, he fires. Boom,” Mattingly said. “As soon as the shot hit, I felt the heat in my leg. I returned fire and got four rounds off.”
WAVE 3 News reached out to the FBI and attorney general Cameron about whether the ballistics report just completed indicates the possibility of friendly fire. The FBI declined to comment on the substance of the report, and Cameron’s office says it will not comment at this time on the ongoing investigation.
Cameron’s office is named in Walker’s lawsuit, to which the attorney general’s office added, “We’ve had no involvement in his case. The Attorney General was incorrectly named as a party in the lawsuit filed by Mr. Walker today and we will be filing a motion to have our office dismissed from the case.”
Romines said Walker comes from a good family and had never been in trouble before in his life.
“And the police want you to believe that at almost 1 o’clock one evening, he says my first foray into the criminal justice world, I’m gonna try to shoot a cop,” Romines said.
In the lawsuit, Walker seeks unspecified monetary damages from LMPD, as well as the City of Louisville, for assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and several other claims.
When Wine dropped the attempted-murder charge against Walker in May, he did so “without prejudice,” meaning the county could charge him again in the future. Walker’s lawsuit seeks to prevent that from happening, citing Kentucky’s “stand your ground” law.
The lawsuit also claims LMPD “threatened Kenny’s life, illegally detained Kenny, interrogated him under false pretenses, ignored his account as corroborated by neighbors, and arrested and jailed Kenny.”
The lawsuit also alleges an unusual exchange took place in the moments following the shooting at Taylor’s apartment.
An unidentified officer asked Walker if he had been hit by any of the gunfire, and when he replied that he had not, the officer replied, “Oh, that’s unfortunate,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit also pointed out that Walker told police immediately following the shooting that he heard the knocks on the door, but he did not hear anyone announce or identify themselves when he and Taylor asked who was there. WAVE 3 News has previously reported this. The officers said they announced themselves, but neighbors said they did not hear officers do so.
A representative for Fischer sent WAVE 3 News the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“We’ve not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the specifics of pending litigation. But as the Mayor has said, Breonna Taylor’s death was a tragedy, and justice, peace and healing are what is needed for her, for her loved ones and for our community.”
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