The person police were looking for was already in custody, the lawsuit says.
It has been two months since a 26-year-old front-line medical professional was gunned down inside her Louisville, Kentucky, home by police officers and her family said they are still seeking justice.
Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were sleeping inside their Springfield Drive apartment on March 13.
Taylor worked for Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services as a licensed EMT for two hospitals. Walker, 27, was about begin his new position with the postal service.
Around 12:30 a.m., three plainclothes police officers “breached the front door,” and “blindly” opened fire into their apartment, alleges a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer.
The officers — identified as Louisville Metro Police Department Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove — were attempting to execute a search warrant for suspected drug trafficking and allegedly announced themselves before and after using a ram to break open the door, said Commander Ted Eidem, with the Louisville Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit at the time.
“As confirmed by multiple neighbors, the defendant officers did not knock or identify themselves prior to entering Breonna’s home,” the lawsuit claims.
Police executed a “no-knock entry” to the apartment “due to the nature of how these drug traffickers order,” according to the arrest warrant obtained by ABC News.
Taylor was accused of accepting USPS packages for an ex-boyfriend who police were investigating as an alleged drug trafficker and used her address, according to the warrant.
The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson District Court on April 27 by attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, seeks damages for battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence. Cosgrove, Hankinson and Mattingly are as defendants.
Walker had a license to carry and kept firearms in the home for protection, according to the lawsuit.
Police said Walker allegedly opened fire after they opened the door and they exchanged fire. Mattingly was shot in his leg.
“More than 25 bullets hit objects in the home’s living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, hallway, both bedrooms in Taylor and Walker’s apartment and into the adjacent home, where a 5-year-old child and pregnant mother lived,” the lawsuit alleges.
Aguilar said at a video press conference on Wednesday that the LMPD has been giving “conflicting statements” from the beginning of the investigation.
“Due to an ongoing internal investigation into this situation, we are not able to provide comment at this time,” said Sgt. Lamont Washington with the Louisville Police Department in an email to ABC News on Wednesday.
Louisville Police Department Chief Steve Conrad said at a press conference after the shooting that none of the officers who worked with their criminal interdiction unit wore a body camera.
Cosgrove, Hankinson and Mattingly were placed on administrative reassignment pending an investigation.
Taylor was shot at least eight times and died, according to the lawsuit.
Noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, has joined the Taylor family’s legal team, and said Palmer had been concerned about Taylor being protected from the coronavirus and having proper personal protective equipment while at work.
“But It wasn’t the coronavirus that killed Breonna Taylor, it was police officers being reckless and irresponsibly shooting into a home from outside,” said Crump during a video conference on Wednesday. “They don’t do this in other neighborhoods. We cannot allow police to unjustifiably kill black people, black women, our lives matter.”
Walker was arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a police officer. He has no history of violence and no history of drug offenses, according to the lawsuit.
“They’re going to have a hard time making these charges against Mr. Walker stick as the judge released him on his own recognizance,” said Aguilar.