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Nearly a year after a deadly police raid ended with Breonna Taylor being shot dead by Louisville officers, a Kentucky circuit judge has dismissed all charges against her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker “with prejudice.”
Walker, 29, had been charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer after the deadly March 13 police raid in Taylor’s apartment. After three plainclothes Louisville police officers entered her home around 12:40 a.m., Walker, believing them to be intruders, allegedly fired a warning shot with his licensed handgun; the shot wounded Officer Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, officials said.
On Monday, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Steven dismissed the charges against Walker “with prejudice,” local station WRTH reported; this comes 10 months after the charges had been dismissed “without prejudice.” Lawyers representing Walker had requested stronger language from officials in his case.
Following Steven’s ruling, Walker cannot be recharged for the crimes.
“He’s relieved that it’s finally over because again, he had to live the entire time with the constant fear that they might bring these charges back and there have been all sorts of rumors that they were going to,” his attorney, Steve Romines, told WTHR. "You really don't have much faith in the criminal justice system when you're a victim in a crime and you're falsely charged and arrested for it and held on a quarter-million dollar bond."
In the botched raid, Taylor was shot six times by police, who fired a total of 32 shots. The primary target in the raid that morning was Jamarcus Glover, a former boyfriend of Taylor, who wasn't there.
Walker’s case hinged on whether or not police had announced themselves before entering Taylor’s apartment that morning. The officers said they had announced themselves, but 12 neighbors stated that the officers did not indicate that they were police, according to Romines. Before the execution of the no-knock warrant, orders had been changed to "knock and announce," The New York Times reported last year.
A public information officer with the River City Fraternal Order of Police responded to the dismissal while speaking with WRTH.
"This isn't the normal course of action for felonies that are dismissed in Jefferson Circuit Court, and so we didn't think it was appropriate at this time," Dave Mutchler said. "We are very reasonably certain that those officers on the scene knocked and announced their presence."
Taylor’s death at the hands of police, along with the killings of other unarmed Black Americans, including George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, spurred nationwide protests demanding racial justice and systematic police reform in the summer of 2020.
None of the officers faced charges directly related to Taylor’s death. Officer Brett Hankison was indicted by a grand jury on first-degree wanton endangerment charges, as he’d fired shots into her home and into an adjacent apartment.
Officer Myles Cosgrove, who fired 16 rounds into the apartment, was fired in September for violating the department’s use of force policy along; Joshua Jaynes, who sought the warrant for the March 13 raid and was dismissed for untruthfulness after a Professional Standards Unit investigation.
Sgt. Mattingly still works with the Louisville Metro Police Department.
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