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Breonna Taylor: Black EMT shot 8 times inside her Kentucky home in botched midnight raid, family sues cops

The family has hired the same civil rights lawyer who is also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery
UPDATED MAY 13, 2020
(Family handout)
(Family handout)

The family of a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician (EMT), Breonna Taylor, is reportedly suing police after they shot her at least eight times in her Kentucky apartment. The family has said that officers barged into her apartment in the middle of the night and opened fire during a "botched" drug raid looking for a suspect who was already in custody by then.

On March 13, Taylor died in her own home in the early hours after police raided the home she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker in Louisville. Authorities have claimed that the midnight search was part of a drug investigation, however, the lawsuit filed by the family states there was no drug found at the home. The family lawyers have said that the main suspect, Jamarcus Glover, was already in police custody at the time of the raid. Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal records.

Taylor's family has now launched a wrongful death lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers and has hired the same civil rights lawyer who is currently also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black jogger who was shot dead by two white men in Georgia in February. One of the suspects is a former police officer.

Taylor and Walker were reportedly sleeping in their bed when police raided their home. The couple thought they were being broken into and Walker, who has a license to carry, fired his gun thinking they were being robbed, the suit said. It added that LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove entered their apartment shortly before 1 am without announcing themselves. Walker is now facing charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer after Mattingly was hit during the raid.

Taylor, who has worked for two local hospitals, was killed after police fired at least 20 rounds into the home. No police bodycam footage is available of that night, according to the suit. Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump described Taylor's tragic death as a "senseless killing," the Daily Mail reported. 

"We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department," Crump said in a statement. "Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the department has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing."

"They're killing our sisters just like they're killing our brothers," the lawyer added. "But for whatever reason, we have not given our sisters the same attention that we have given to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald. Breonna's name should be known by everybody in America who said those other names, because she was in her own home, doing absolutely nothing wrong."

The lawsuit said that neither of the two had any criminal history for drugs or violence or posed any immediate threat. "Breonna had committed no crime, posed no immediate threat to the safety of the defendants and did not actively resist or attempt to evade arrest prior to being repeatedly shot and killed by the defendants," the suit stated. "'The officers failed to use any sound reasonable judgment whatsoever when firing more than 25 blind shots into multiple homes and causing the wrongful death of Breonna."

Taylor's family is now seeking unspecified damages, alleging wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence from the police officers. The late EMT's mother, Tamika Pamer, said: "Not one person has talked to me. Not one person has explained anything to me. I want justice for her. I want them to say her name. There's no reason Breonna should be dead at all."

"She was an essential worker. She had to go to work. She didn’t have a problem with that. To not be able to sleep in her own bed without someone busting down her door and taking her life. I was just like, ‘Make sure you wash your hands!’" the mother added.

Another attorney working with the Talylor family, Sam Aguiar, told The Courier Journal, that ever since the shooting, the police department has attempted to "sweep this under the rug" when the family wants to know of the full circumstances of what happened that night. "This was clearly a botched execution of a warrant," he said. 

 Activist Shaun King also took to Instagram to write that the police department treated Taylor like a criminal for weeks. They called her a "suspect" and said they killed a suspect for weeks before they were forced to admit that this was a botched operation. "They had no drugs. And they got the wrong people. She did EVERYTHING right. Everything," King wrote.