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The family of a black Kentucky EMT has filed a lawsuit after she was killed by police who raided her apartment, allegedly in error, as she slept.
Breonna Taylor, 26, and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker had been asleep in her apartment on the night of March 13 when three plainclothes Louisville police officers burst in and "blindly fired," striking the woman and killing her, according to a lawsuit filed by her family.
The officers allegedly came to the home looking for a man who lived in another part of Louisville.
“The officers then entered Breonna’s home without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers,” the lawsuit states. “The Defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life.”
Taylor—who had been working at two different hospitals to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic at the time she was killed—was shot at least eight times. She wasn't armed, according to the family’s attorneys.
“Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands,” the lawsuit said.
Sgt. Lamont Washington of the Louisville Metro Police Department declined to comment to Oxygen.com on the allegations in the lawsuit, citing the “ongoing internal investigation into this situation.” However, authorities did describe the shooting in a March 13 press conference.
Louisville Metro Police Department Lt. Ted Eidem said that the officers had knocked on the door multiple times and “announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant” according to NBC News. When they entered the home, they were “immediately met by gunfire,” he alleged.
Police said Walker began to fire at the officers—striking one of them and prompting police to return fire. He is now facing criminal charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.
Taylor’s attorneys contend that the couple believed someone was breaking into their home and that Walker had called 911 shortly before the fatal shooting.
The lawsuit names the defendants as the three police officers who were on the scene that night: Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly.
Washington told Oxygen.com that all three officers are currently on administrative leave.
In the wake of the killing, Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the family along with co-counsels Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, has called for the police department to take accountability.
“(Breonna Taylor) should be alive right now. Yet here we are, the loss of another innocent, young Black woman,” he wrote on Twitter. “Another beautiful life lost! Louisville Police, your officers need to be held accountable.”
Crump is also representing the family of the high-profile shooting of Ahmaud Arbery—the 25-year-old man in Georgia who was shot to death while running through a predominantly white neighborhood. The two men charged in his murder - Gregory McMichael, 64 and his son, Travis McMichael, 34 - told police they thought he was a burglar and pursued him.
Police had been at Taylor’s home around 12:40 a.m. on March 13 to serve a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation, according to the local paper.
Authorities were looking for a man named Jamarcus Glover, according to the lawsuit. However, Taylor’s family contends that Glover had already been arrested at his home earlier in the day by other officers.
The suit describes the young couple as “quiet and peaceful” and said they had no criminal history for drugs or violence.
"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," the suit alleges.
The suit was filed on behalf of Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer and is seeking damages as part of the personal injury and wrongful death claim.
Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement on Twitter that he plans to “monitor” the case closely as the investigation continues.
“As always, my priority is that the truth comes out, and for justice to follow the path of truth,” he wrote. “The Breonna Taylor case is currently under investigation. Therefore, expansive comments are not appropriate until all the facts are fully known.”
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