LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Calls for an outside investigation into the fatal police shooting of a Kentucky emergency medical technician are growing, two months after the 26-year-old Black woman was killed in her home.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has called for a thorough investigation of Breonna Taylor’s death and said it’s his priority that “the truth comes out.”
“Police work can involve incredibly difficult situations. Additionally, residents have rights,” Fischer wrote in a statement this week. “These two concepts will and must be weighed by our justice system as the case proceeds.”
Outrage spread beyond Kentucky borders this week over the shooting, as some high-profile figures, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, called for a federal investigation. An online petition with more than 90,000 signatures, said police performed an “illegal drug raid” before killing Taylor.
The online petition and some others calling for an outside investigation say police went to the wrong house. But police had a warrant to search Taylor’s home March 13 as part of a drug investigation, though she was not the suspect they were seeking, according to the Courier Journal.
Louisville police have declined to answer further questions about the case, citing an ongoing internal investigation.
Police have “tried to sweep this under the rug,” said Sam Aguiar, a lawyer for Taylor’s family. “The family right now has a very understandable desire to know the full circumstances of what went on that night.”
Taylor was shot eight times. Police said they were returning fire after one officer was shot in the apartment and wounded.
A defense attorney for Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has argued in court filings that Walker fired in self-defense because police did not announce themselves and he thought officers were breaking in. Taylor and Walker had no criminal history or drug convictions, and no drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Taylor’s family has hired prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump. Crump has represented the families of other high-profile black shooting victims.
A lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family last month said Taylor “had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands.” The suit also said police had already located the drug suspect they were seeking, Jamarcus Glover, at his home and detained him before executing the warrant at Taylor’s residence.
The Courier Journal reported Tuesday that Taylor’s address was listed in a search warrant based on the investigator’s belief that Glover used her home to receive mail, keep drugs or stash money earned from drug sales. Police investigators said they had earlier observed the drug case suspect, Glover, taking a package from Taylor’s home and driving to a “known drug house,” the newspaper reported.
The warrant was a “no-knock,” meaning police were not required to identify themselves before entering the home, the Courier Journal reported. Louisville police have said they did identify themselves to the home’s occupants, but some neighbors said they heard no such warnings, according to the lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family.
Another warrant executed on the same night as Taylor’s death at another house connected to the investigation led to the seizure of “several ounces of suspected crack cocaine, marijuana and U.S. currency,” authorities said.
Crump also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was fatally shot in February in a coastal Georgia town. A white father and son were arrested last week after video emerged of them confronting Arbery, which led to a struggle with punches thrown, three shots fired and Arbery collapsing dead.
Crump also was involved in the 2012 case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Black Florida teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.