LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The family of a Louisville EMT killed in what's been alleged to have been a botched Louisville Metro Police raid has filed a lawsuit against the officers involved, claiming she did "nothing to deserve to die at their hands."
Breonna Taylor was shot multiple times after officers used a battering ram to get into her home on Springfield Drive in south Louisville about 1 a.m. on March 13 in order to serve a warrant.
Attorneys say police had the wrong home and that the suspect they were looking for was already in custody before the raid. Nothing illegal was found in Taylor's home.
The officers burst into the home without knocking and "blindly fired" into it, spraying bullets into Taylor's house and neighboring apartments "with a total disregard for the value of human life," according to the lawsuit. Taylor, 26, was shot eight times.
Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, thought they were being robbed, according to his attorney, and fired at officers when they rushed in, hitting LMPD Sgt. John Mattingly in the leg.
The suit names Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove as defendants. The officers are currently on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated. LMPD does not talk about pending litigation.
Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Police initially said Taylor was a suspect but have not talked much about the case since, saying it is under investigation. However, both Chief Steve Conrad and the police union criticized a judge for releasing Walker on home incarceration.
The lawsuit was filed late last month by local attorney Sam Aguiar. Now, civil rights attorney Ben Crump has joined the legal team. Crump is best known for representing the families of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and most recently, Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery.
In an interview Monday evening, Aguiar said he hoped the litigation would spur a federal investigation of the incident and more answers from LMPD, which he said has been less than forthcoming about the case.
"I think that when the city and the mayor's office and the administration in the police department go out and flaunt transparency, it is incredibly hypocritical," Aguiar said. "Whether it's the mayor or Chief Conrad or somebody, an effort needs to be made to bring in the (Department of Justice) into situations like this to come in with an impartial eye and investigate these officers."
Bianca Austin, Taylor’s aunt, has said Walker had just accepted a job to work at UPS.
"These two were not drug dealers," she said. "It just don’t make sense to us at all."
Police have said they repeatedly knocked on the door and announced their presence but were eventually forced to bust through a door, where they were met with gunfire.
Police say there is no body camera footage from the raid as officers in LMPD criminal interdiction division do not wear body cameras.
The department has not responded to a question about why that division does not wear body cameras.
This story has been picked up nationally in the last week or so and now a well-known civil rights attorney, Ben Crump, has joined the legal team representing the family. “We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department." https://t.co/lS68TPcwTL— Jason Riley (@JasonRileyWDRB) May 11, 2020
The lawsuit claims the person police were looking for was arrested at his home, with drugs and firearms, before the other officers raided Taylor's apartment.
A woman who lives next door said she woke up to the sound of gunshots and Walker yelling for help, according to an affidavit filed in court records. The woman said she never heard police announce themselves.
“All she heard was a ram (breaking through the door) and gunfire,” according to court records.
Walker, according to the lawsuit, called 911 as officers "fired shots into the home from outside." Walker believed they were being robbed, according to the suit.
"The officers failed to use any sound reasonable judgement whatsover when firing more than 25 blind shots into multiple homes and causing the wrongful death of Breonna," the suit claims.
The lawsuit argues police unlawfully entered the home, used excessive force and committed assault. The suit is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
In March, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens ordered Walker's release from jail into home incarceration. The union representing LMPD officers called the move "a slap in the face to everyone wearing a badge."
The judge's decision also sparked sharp criticism from Conrad.
"I certainly understand the need to make sure we are releasing those people who don't pose a risk to our community from the jail, especially as we face the outbreak of COVID-19," Conrad said in a statement. "However, it's hard for me to see how a man accused of shooting a police officer falls into that low-risk category, and I am very frustrated by Mr. Walker's release to home incarceration."
Meanwhile, Loralei HoJay, a college student from just outside of New York City, has launched a Change.org petition demanding justice for Taylor and her family. Though HoJay has never been to Louisville, she felt she had to do something to point out what she perceives as an injustice.
"The power that we have is in numbers," she said. "We have to keep this up together if, you know, we really do want to get justice for Breonna and for her family."
- Attorneys claim LMPD officers killed 26-year-old EMT in 'botched' police raid
- LMPD officer shot, woman found dead following narcotics investigation
Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.