Charges permanently dropped against Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend

Kenneth Walker cannot face further charges for shooting at police during botched raid that ended Taylor’s life.

Kent Ford, co-founder of Portland's Black Panther Party, carries a painting of Breonna Taylor during a Black Lives Matter march on December 6, 2020 [File: Alisha Jucevic/Reuters]

Authorities dropped charges on Monday against the man Breonna Taylor was seeing at the time of her death, Kenneth Walker, that stemmed from the botched raid that killed Taylor.

Walker was charged with assault and attempted murder for firing at members of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) who entered Taylor’s home around 1am local time on March 13, 2020, in the botched raid that saw her fatally shot.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens dismissed the charges with prejudice, meaning Walker cannot be recharged in relation to the incident.

Officers have claimed they announced their entry to Taylor’s home during the raid, which was justified by suspicions Taylor was involved in drugs, due to a past relationship.

Walker said he did not hear it and thought the home was being robbed. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers involved in the raid, was hit in the thigh by the one round fired by Walker.

Police fired 30 rounds in response, some of which hit Taylor. They found no drugs or paraphernalia in her home.

Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine previously dismissed the charges against Walker in May 2020, but without prejudice, saying more investigation was needed.

Lawyers from Wine’s office wrote in a filing last week that “no new information relevant to the charges against [Walker] in this matter has been brought to commonwealth’s attention”, asking the charges be dismissed with prejudice, local paper the Courier-Journal reported.

“As such, the commonwealth moves the court to amend its prior dismissal of this matter without prejudice to a dismissal with prejudice,” the paper quoted the filing, signed by Wine and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ebert Haegele, as saying.

Last September, Walker sued the LMPD for immunity in prosecution and damages relating to the incident. Judge Stevens denied this motion.

Mattingly has sued Walker in civil court for emotional distress, assault and battery.

Taylor’s death has been a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter protesters, who took to the streets in 2020 following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and others, demanding reforms.

Protesters march against racial injustice and for Black women following the grand jury decision in Louisville’s Breonna Taylor case, in Denver, Colorado on September 26, 2020 [File: Kevin Mohatt/Reuters]

None of the officers involved in the fatal raid was charged in Taylor’s death. Louisville agreed in September to pay Taylor’s family $12m and to institute police reforms.

Source: Al Jazeera