Breonna Taylor, Kentucky EMT, allegedly killed by police executing search warrant
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 operate," 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.
Aguiar 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 Aguiar.
Taylor's younger sister who also lives with the couple was out of town at the time, according to the lawsuit.
"The individual that the officers were seeking had already been apprehended by LMPD earlier that morning at his own home," according to the lawsuit.
Aguiar said Taylor was "still friendly, and she accepted packages for him," at her house.
"The Plaintiff brings this personal injury and wrongful death action in order to obtain damages resultant from the Defendants’ unlawful conduct, which directly and proximately caused the death of a young, beautiful human being who was also an essential front-line medical professional in this community," according to the lawsuit.
Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal history for drugs or violence and no drugs were found in their home, the lawsuit read. "Neighbors described Breonna and Kenneth as quiet and peaceful. Friends and family describe the two as loving and caring," the lawsuit read.
Mattingly, who is the commanding officer in charge of executing the warrant on Taylor’s home, has worked as a police officer since June 2000 and in 2018 had a reported pay of $120,054.44 according to public records. Request for comment from Mattingly was not immediately received.
Cosgrove has worked as a police officer since May 2005 and in 2018 had a reported pay of $76,192.62 according to public records. Attempts to reach Cosgrove for comment over the phone were unsuccessful.
Hankinson has worked as a police officer since January 2003 and in 2018 had a reported pay of $110,068.10 according to public records. Request for comment from Hankinson was not immediately received.
Request for comment from the River City Fraternal Order of Police was also not immediately received.
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