One of the Louisville police officers involved in the raid where police killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, during a botched no-knock drug search is suing Ms Taylor’s boyfriend, claiming he “willingly or maliciously” shot him in the leg.
It’s the latest in a legal battle about how to respond to what happened during the March encounter which has carried on long after Ms Taylor’s family settled with police in mid-September.
The suit, filed on Thursday, comes from Sgt Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg and required surgery following the sweep, and seeks charges against of assault, battery, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress against Kenneth Walker, Ms Taylor’s boyfriend.
Mr Walker says he fired out of legally protected self defence rights and wasn’t aware it was police officers breaking down the door.
The question of whether police properly warned the couple of the impending raid is at the heart of disputes over the case. There is no body camera footage of the raid itself, but police videos and records from the moments just afterward capture Mr Walker saying, “She asked 10 times, ‘who’s at the door?’" and “We don’t even know who it was.” Officers respond in the same footage that they yelled multiple times that police were at the door to execute a warrant, a claim repeated in Sgt Mattingly’s suit. Neighbours have offered differing accounts of what they heard before police entered Ms Taylor’s apartment, though more than a dozen say they didn’t hear anything at all.
In September, Mr Walker filed a suit against the Louisville Metropolitan Police and other Kentucky authorities arguing he was a victim of police misconduct and seeking immunity from prosecution under the state’s self-defence laws.
"The charges brought against me were meant to silence me and cover up Breonna's murder," he said at the time. "For those that I love, I can no longer remain silent."
None of the officers involved in the raid have faced charges directly related to killing Ms Taylor, though one was charged with firing his weapon recklessly into a neighbouring apartment during the shootout, which he denies.
Questions about the independence and thoroughness of the investigation and case against the officers have dogged the process so far. Police records cast doubt about whether the crime scene was properly secured, including ballistic evidence on who shot whom, which would likely be pertinent to both Mr Walker’s and Mr Mattingly’s suits. Anonymous grand jurors recently said they were never given the chance to consider criminal charges against the officers, which led Ms Taylor’s mother on Wednesday to call for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to present a new case to the grand jury .
Ms Taylor’s death helped inspire record-breaking Black Lives Matter protests and police reforms around the country, including “Breonna’s Law,” which bans no-knock raids in Louisville.