Breonna Taylor: Kenneth Walker’s family still fighting for accountability for her death
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In last year’s deadly police raid on March 13 that killed Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend Kenneth Walker survived.
Two days before the one-year anniversary of her death, Walker’s parents say they won’t rest until someone is held accountable.
It’s still surreal for Velicia and Kenneth Walker, Jr., the parents of Kenneth Walker III, Taylor’s boyfriend. Walker’s mother was on the phone with her son Kenneth Walker III during the raid.
“(We’re still) numb,” Velicia Walker said.
There are days where the Walkers still keep watch over their phones, wishing for a call from Taylor and for her car to drive up to their home with their son by her side.
“If you ever would have seen the apartment and all the holes in that apartment,” Kenneth Walker Jr. said. “He’s not supposed to be here.”
For Kenneth Jr. and Velicia Walker, the pain from last March feels like a twisted knife in the gut. For their son, Kenneth III, it’s a daily slice.
“He was in there, he saw those bullets he heard those bullets,” Kenneth Jr said. “He watched the love of his life, his queen, right there with him.”
LMPD officers were sent to Taylor’s apartment back in March to serve a no-knock drug warrant. Officers said they knocked and announced themselves before entering, something Kenneth Walker said he did not hear and other witnesses have said didn’t happen.
When officers entered the apartment, Walker fired a “warning shot” into the hallway, which hit LMPD Sgt. Jon Mattingly in the leg. The other officers returned fire, with Taylor being shot five times and killed in the crossfire.
As Breonna Taylor’s story was thrust into the national spotlight, so was every private aspect of Walker’s life. A year of accusations, rumors and attacks on the couple’s character, including allegations of drug involvement.
“The thing is that we knew the young man and person we raised,” Kenneth Walker Jr. said. “So, the things said about him were disheartening and untruths.”
Kenneth Walker Jr. said the people involved in spreading information forget a 26-year-old healthcare worker lost her life.
“If a police officer rides through this neighborhood I could see his skin cringe,” Velicia Walker said.
The Walkers said they lost trust in the Louisville Metro Police Department. The officers involved in the shooting were not charged in relation to Taylor’s death, and only former LMPD Det. Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment after allegedly firing blindly into a neighbor’s apartment.
Every day, the Walkers are disheartened, telling WAVE 3 News they can’t move on. They grow anxious every time their son steps out their door because of threats they say officers made against him.
Their son survived the shooting but his freedom is still at risk.
Prosecutors recently dropped charges against Walker for firing his gun during the raid after he thought someone was breaking in.
“There was never a chance for me,” Velicia Walker said. “That’s how strong I knew God was going to work it out.”
Velicia said police tried to hold her son accountable for the department’s actions. Sgt. Mattingly still has a lawsuit against Kenneth Walker III.
“You’re filing charges against someone for you, doing your job,” Kenneth Walker Jr. said.
The Walkers said Taylor will live through their son. Her impact on his life is immeasurable.
“I saw her in a chrysalis stage as a caterpillar,” Velicia Walker said.
She saw the 26-year-old still growing, tackling goals and marrying her son. Taylor’s chance to become a butterfly was cut short, leaving their son to face his next stage in life without her.
The Walkers said their family is putting pressure on President Joe Biden to make sure officers are held responsible for their actions. Back in December, Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, penned an open letter to Biden in a full-page ad in the Washington Post.
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