Breonna Taylor’s family says fatal incursion was related to gentrification project

Breonna Taylor’s family modified their lawsuit against three Louisville police officers to say that the raid on her home that ended in her death was related to a gentrification project.

Taylor, 26, a former EMT, was killed on March 13 after Louisville Metro Police Department agents shot her multiple times at her home. Police were executing a search warrant in a drug investigation.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a lawsuit against three of the officers involved: Sgt. Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly. Hankison was fired in June for shooting “pointlessly and blindly” at the department, according to his firing letter. Cosgrove and Mattingly have been placed on administrative leave.

Breonna Taylor.Family photo

An amended lawsuit was filed Sunday in Jefferson Circuit Court alleging that the raid on Taylor’s house “begins with the political need to clean up a street for a major real estate development project.”

“Breonna’s house should never have had cops there in the first place,” says the lawsuit, obtained by NBC News. “Breonna’s death was the culmination of radical political and police behavior.”

The lawsuit says that the police were used to attack people and homes on Elliott Avenue because the street needed to be vacated for the real estate project.

“One of the main obstacles to this unit and the real estate development project was an ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, who rented a house on Elliott Avenue,” the lawsuit says.

Taylor lived on a different street more than 10 miles away, but her address was listed in the police search warrant for her belief that a suspect, her ex-boyfriend, had used her home to store drugs or save money.

The order also indicated that a Taylor-registered car was repeatedly seen parked in front of a “drug house” known to the suspect, her ex-boyfriend.

On the night of the raid, Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed when they heard the sound of someone knocking on their front door, according to the lawsuit. Taylor and Walker yelled asking who was there, but the police did not identify themselves.

The lawsuit says Taylor and Walker were scared and Walker, who is a licensed firearm bearer, grabbed his gun for fear the house would be broken into.

“As Breonna and Kenny are in the hallway leading to the front of the house, there is a loud knock and the door begins to pop out of the hinges, terrifying Breonna and Kenny,” says the suit.

Walker fired a “warning shot” and police “proceeded to fire erratically” at the home, killing Taylor, according to the lawsuit.

“The Defendants ‘actions were carried out in bad faith, were carried out with a corrupt motive, were beyond the scope of the Defendants’ authority, were intentionally executed and with the intent to harm, and violated the constitutional and legal rights of Breonna, “The suit says.

Attorneys for the officers involved did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the police union attorney could not immediately be contacted.

The complaint also mentions Mayor Greg Fischer and accuses him of wanting to develop western Louisville in order to leave a legacy for his time in office. Fischer is not a defendant in the lawsuit and did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Ben Crump, the attorney for Taylor’s family, said in a statement that officers had no probable cause to enter the home.

“The officers who stole Breonna’s life, and Tamika Palmer’s daughter, exhibited scandalous, reckless, deliberate, senseless and illegal conduct,” he said. “As a consequence, the city lost one of its most precious front-line workers, who risked their lives daily to save their fellow residents in a pandemic. This is a serious crime against Breonna, her family, and the greater community of Louisville.” .

The Louisville Metro Police Department was not available for comment. Lt. Ted Eidem addressed Taylor’s death at a press conference on March 13 and said officers had knocked on the door multiple times and “announced their presence as police officers who were there with a search warrant.”

After forcing their way to the house, “they were immediately met with gunfire,” Eidem said.