Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend said that no one straightly told him that his girlfriend died in a failed drug raid that powered nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.
Walker, 27, said that the first time he found out Taylor had been killed by police at their Louisville, Kentucky, apartment was when he was watching the news while wrongly detained after the March 13 incident.
“I never really got told, like directly. I saw it on the news,” Walker said. “I was in the cell, and it was on the news, and they said one, you know, female dead. They confirmed it.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical technician, was fatally by shot plainclothes officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department in her home in the early hours of March 13. The officers awakened the couple with what Walker said was a loud bang as they were serving a “no-knock” drug warrant for a different person. Walker, a legal gun owner, said he fired a single warning shot in fear that someone was breaking into the apartment. Officers fired back, shooting Taylor six times and killing her.
Neither Taylor nor Walker were the specific targets of the investigation as police did not find drugs in the home. However, police arrested Walker on attempted murder charges, accusing him of wounding an officer. Evidence is unclear as to whose bullet struck Det. John Mattingly, though. The charges were later dropped, and Walker has filed a lawsuit over his arrest.
“I didn’t know for sure what condition she was in when I left, so I didn’t know what they did,” Walker said of the officers. “As these bodycam videos come out, I see they did nothing. Clearly we see the SWAT team in there, and she was still in there. They’re still like casing the apartment with her laying right there on the ground. Disrespectful.”
A grand jury declined to charge the three officers involved in Taylor’s killing with manslaughter or homicide. Instead, Det. Brett Hankison was indicted on a charge of wanton endangerment, a first-degree felony, for putting the lives of apartment neighbors in danger. An anonymous member of the grand jury claimed last month that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) never asked jury members to consider homicide charges.
About 20 hours of recorded grand jury deliberations in the case were released Oct. 2 after a state judge ruled that the audio would be added to the court case’s file. The Jefferson County Circuit Court judge overruled Cameron’s decision to not release the full grand jury report.
Walker told King that when he was arrested ― without socks or shoes on ― an officer asked him if he had been hit by a bullet. When Walker said no, the officer allegedly said, “Well, that’s unfortunate.”
There wouldn’t be a story. You probably wouldn’t even know about it. If I didn’t live, you probably wouldn’t even know about Breonna Taylor.
Kenneth Walker, boyfriend of Breonna Taylor
“There wouldn’t be a story” if he had not survived the shooting, Walker said. “You probably wouldn’t even know about it. If I didn’t live, you probably wouldn’t even know about Breonna Taylor.”
The city of Louisville has reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family over the killing, but Taylor’s family demands that the officers involved be charged in her death. Walker told King in the interview that the only way there can be justice for Taylor is if she were sitting right next to him.
“She would do anything for anybody. She took care of a lot of people,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who need her bad right now, including me.”