Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, is “devastated” that a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against police in Louisville, Kentucky, for her death, his attorney said. And Walker believes he is being wrongfully blamed for her killing.
Frederick Moore III, a lawyer representing Walker, said his client believes Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron blamed Walker for Taylor’s murder at a news conference Wednesday following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision.
“Yesterday was almost as tough as the day itself,” Moore said, speaking on behalf of Walker.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was shot six times in the hallway of her apartment on March 13 by officers executing a search warrant in a narcotics investigation. Moore said Walker was never the target of a probe and has no criminal record.
A former officer who was involved in the botched raid at Taylor’s home, Brett Hankison, was charged Wednesday with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Hankison is accused of endangering three of Taylor’s neighbors. The charges do not accuse him of firing at or killing Taylor.
Hankison was fired in June. His termination letter said that he showed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” and that he “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 rounds while executing the warrant.
Cameron said that under Kentucky law, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired at Taylor, were justified in using force to protect themselves because Walker had fired at them first. Walker, who had a license to carry firearms, has said he mistook the officers for intruders and fired a single shot as they entered the apartment, striking Mattingly in the thigh.
Rounds fired by Mattingly and Cosgrove struck Taylor, Cameron said. None of the 10 shots fired by Hankison struck Taylor, Cameron said, adding that an FBI review of ballistics evidence concluded that the fatal shot was fired by Cosgrove.
Walker was initially arrested and charged with attempted murder and assault, but the charges were later dropped.
What is still at issue, Moore said in an interview Thursday, is whether the officers announced their presence before they forced their way into Taylor’s apartment.
Cameron said Wednesday that the grand jury investigation confirmed that officers had properly “knocked and identified themselves.” He said one neighbor reported hearing police identify themselves.
Moore said that is “inconsistent with what we know,” referring to evidence Walker’s legal team has gathered for a lawsuit he filed this month against the city and the police department.
Moore also noted that The New York Times has reported that it interviewed nearly a dozen neighbors, and only one person said he heard the officers identify themselves by yelling “police” a single time.
Moore also took issue with how Cameron presented information at the news conference Wednesday, saying he did not appear impartial and instead acted as though he was a defense attorney for the three officers.
“My problem is, he’s talked for months about finding the truth,” Moore said. “Then he bloviates that there are going to be people from the outside telling us about this case. He got in front of the entire world yesterday and told part of the truth. It’s hypocritical.”
Cameron acknowledged Wednesday that some people would be unhappy with the lack of charges and took aim at critics.
“There will be celebrities, influencers and activists, who, having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do,” he said. “But they don’t. Let’s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.”
Moore, like Gov. Andy Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer, both Democrats, is calling on Cameron, a Republican, to publish as much of the evidence as possible online so that the public can review it.
“Say what all the evidence shows. Don’t only say what helps your case,” Moore said. “He presented an affirmative defense to the grand jury. He stood up there yesterday and acted like a criminal defense lawyer.”
A spokeswoman for Cameron, Elizabeth Kuhn, said Wednesday that the office would not post any of the evidence because it would “compromise” a federal investigation “and violate a prosecutor’s ethical duties.”
Moore said he shares in Walker’s disappointment over the grand jury’s decision and Cameron’s handling of the case.
“But we remain resolved in our determination to find the truth,” Moore said.