To their credit, the Louisville Police Department continues to open the bag and release information to the press regarding the investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor and the findings of the grand jury. This is largely being done in a likely futile effort to quell the protests and rioting that followed the decision not to charge any of the officers involved in the raid with crimes directly related to her death. One of the latest details to emerge, however, is being played up in the press in a way that seems destined to inflame the situation further. It’s been revealed that in the weeks following the shooting, the police were looking into the activities of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. This is being described as a situation where the cops were “searching for a justification” for Taylor’s shooting. (NBC News)
Newly released documents from the internal investigation by Louisville, Kentucky, police of the shooting death of Breonna Taylor show that even after protests erupted nationwide and the case had been turned over to a special prosecutor, the police department was actively gathering negative information about Taylor’s boyfriend.
The Louisville Metro Police Department was pursuing the information about the man, Kenneth Walker, while it was also investigating its own officers for shooting and killing Taylor.
The documents, part of thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of audio and video released to the public Wednesday, also show that an officer involved in the raid continued to search for a justification for it after Taylor’s death.
The press appears to be joining in with Walker’s attorney, saying that the investigation into Walker’s activities is a “cover-up” intended to “smear” Walker’s name as he proceeds with a civil suit against the city. But does that really make any sense? Despite the tragic and clearly accidental death of Breonna Taylor, this was still an ongoing investigation and Walker had clearly become part of it. After all, whether it was a misunderstanding or not, Walker did shoot a police officer. That sort of puts him on the field of play.
And it’s not as if the investigation didn’t reveal anything. Keep in mind that the raids conducted by the police on that night primarily focused on Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who was suspected of running a drug-dealing operation. It was believed that Taylor may have in some way assisted Glover in that endeavor. And Walker’s phone records indicated that he had been involved in the illegal sale of both marijuana and pills. Was it really such a leap for the police to wonder whether Walker was also involved in Glover’s operation?
On top of that, pictures on Walker’s phone showed him and Taylor holding an AR-15, raising additional questions. (Walker later told police that he had legally owned and sold the rifle because he was experiencing financial difficulties.) Walker also admitted to smoking marijuana, including on the day of the shooting, but had recently kicked the habit because he’d applied for a job with the Post Office.
None of that adds up to a serious case against Walker (aside from the possibility of some low-level drug trafficking), but it certainly looks like enough smoke to justify the police checking into the situation to see if it led to any fire. But that just seems like part of the normal investigatory process. The fact that they were checking into his activities wouldn’t have made the police shooting any more or less valid given all of the other information that’s come to light. Accusing the cops of trying to use additional information on Walker to “excuse” Taylor’s shooting seems nonsensical unless the Louisville Police are totally clueless. And since there apparently aren’t going to be any more charges filed against the officers involved in the shooting, these sorts of stories aren’t doing anything but further inflaming the already riled up crowds of protesters.