LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine is requesting a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Louisville police officers' conduct during an early morning raid in March that ended with officers shooting and killing 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a tweet Wednesday evening his office has been asked to serve as the special prosecutor in the case and will "take appropriate action" upon reviewing the evidence presented by the Louisville Metro Police Department's Public Integrity Unit.
"Because the matter remains pending, there will be no further comment," said Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for the attorney general.
The Office of the Attorney General has been asked to serve as special prosecutor in the matter involving the death of Breonna Taylor. At the conclusion of the investigation, the office will review the evidence and take appropriate action.— Attorney General Daniel Cameron (@kyoag) May 13, 2020
According to a letter from Wine's office to the Kentucky Attorney General's office, Wine is recusing himself from reviewing the Public Integrity Unit's investigation into Taylor's death because his office is prosecuting a case against Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
"Mr. Wine believes that our office is conflicted from reviewing the LMPD Public Integrity Unit investigation," the letter says.
Walker is charged with attempted murder of a police officer in connection with the raid, during which police said he shot LMPD Sgt. John Mattingly in the leg. Walker's attorney said Walker thought he and Taylor were being robbed after officers used a battering ram to get into Taylor's apartment on Springfield Drive, just off St. Anthony Church Road in south Louisville, around 1 a.m. March 13, according to previous reporting.
Police believed a suspected drug dealer made "frequent trips" to Taylor's apartment, where he had been receiving packages, according to the search warrant allowing officers to raid Taylor’s home.
Taylor was shot at least eight times during the raid, according to a lawsuit filed by her family against the officers involved. There is no body camera footage of the raid, because the officers involved were in LMPD's Criminal Interdiction Division, which doesn't require officers wear body cameras.
Regarding Wine recusing himself from the case, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Wednesday his office will talk with Cameron about next steps. The mayor said he has also talked with Gov. Andy Beshear about how to proceed with the case and plans to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well.
Fischer said that it's "possible" he could approve an independent investigation of the shooting after the Public Integrity Unit completes its investigation. The mayor also he will "continue this conversation over the coming days to see if there are other ways to include civilian review" in the case.
If no charges are filed against the officers involved or "once a potential case is over," Fischer said LMPD's Professional Standards Unit will review the matter, which could lead to discipline from Chief Steve Conrad.
"We all want to get to the same place, and that is to get to the truth as quickly as we possibly can," Fischer said. "... My administration has always been open to review, and if that is called for, we will absolutely cooperate."
The Public Integrity Unity expects to wrap up its investigation in the coming weeks, Fischer said.
Meanwhile, Taylor's story is drawing national attention. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and, most recently, slain Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, has joined Taylor's family and local attorney Sam Aguiar in the legal battle. Former Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California, called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Taylor's death in a tweet Wednesday.
The officers involved in the raid are currently on administrative reassignment while the Public Integrity Unity investigates. LMPD does not talk about pending litigation and has not a responded to a question about why its Criminal Interdiction Division does not use body cameras.
Reporter Chris Otts contributed.
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