Breonna Taylor’s apartment was considered a “soft target” with minimal threats by the police serving a “no-knock” warrant the night she was shot, according to new recordings of police interviews.
Obtained by the Courier-Journal, police interviews of Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Kenneth Walker’s, Taylor’s boyfriend, paint two different pictures of what happened the night Taylor, an EMT, was killed.
Sgt. Mattingly, who spoke with investigators almost two weeks after the incident, said that police had surveyed Taylor’s house earlier in the evening.
“They said they did not believe she had children or animals, but they weren’t sure,” he said. “Said she should be there alone because they knew where their target was.”
Sgt. Mattingly was apparently referencing Jamarcus Glover, one of the main suspects in a larger narcotics investigation, who police were looking for at Taylor’s apartment. Mr. Glover was arrested that same night at a different location.
The officer said police believed Taylor may have held drugs for Mr. Glover.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot multiple times in her home after officers entered on the basis of a “no-knock” warrant in March. The Louisville Metro Police Department claimed three officers, wearing plain clothes, opened fire after Mr. Walker shot first.
In the recordings, Sgt. Mattingly said he and other police knocked and identified themselves as officers, despite the “no-knock” warrant.
“Our intent was to give her plenty of time to come to the door because they said she was probably there alone,” he said, noting they gave “more than enough time for the average person or even a disabled person to get to the door.”
Mr. Walker, interviewed hours after the incident, told police he and Taylor had no idea it was a group of officers at the door but that they thought they were in the middle of a home invasion.
“The only reason I even had the gun out (was) because we didn’t know who it was. If we knew who it was, that would have never happened,” he said.
In the recordings, Mr. Walker claimed he was told by one of the officers that it was “unfortunate” he wasn’t injured in the firefight and described some confusion when he was taken to the station about what happened.
Taylor’s death helped fuel the outrage and protests demanding police overhauls across the country for more than a month, along with the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, who died after an officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.
Congress is trying to ban “no-knock” warrants in both versions of competition police overhaul bills.
Attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker released a statement Thursday evening saying the recordings prove there was a “conspiracy” to cover up Taylor’s death.
“Enough is enough. It is time for all the officers involved in that tragic night to be terminated from their positions and to be charged with the murder of Breonna Taylor,” they wrote.
One of the officers involved, Brett Hankison, was fired last month from the Louisville Metro Police Department. Sgt. Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove — are still employed with the department, but have been reassigned.