No charges will be brought against Breonna Taylor's boyfriend

There won’t be any charges brought against Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker. On the night of the raid, Walker claimed he and Taylor never heard police announce themselves when they came to the door. He fired one shot as police came through the door hitting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Officer then returned fire, killing Taylor.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens ruled Monday the charges would be dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged for the March 13, 2020, shooting of a Louisville officer.

Walker, Taylor’s then-boyfriend, was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer after he shot Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh as police burst into Taylor’s apartment with a search warrant shortly before 1 a.m…

Those charges were dismissed without prejudice in May 2020, with Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine calling for more investigation to determine if criminal charges were warranted and Walker should be recharged.

But investigators never came up with any new information so last week Tom Wine called for the charges to be dismissed for good. Walker celebrated the move with this post on Instagram: “They dropped them charges, I’m blessed for sure but there’s a lot more to be done we gonna get justice for Breonna Taylor,” he wrote.

 

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Sgt. Mattingly was seriously injured by Walker’s bullet, which severed his femoral artery. But the Courier Journal points out that even Mattingly agreed it was possible Walker would not be charged because his attorneys would argue he did not know it was police at the door. “You could probably sell that,” Mattingly said.

When I wrote about this case last year I argued it was possible neither Walker nor the police should be charged for their behavior. Walker was a legal gun owner and, if he didn’t know who was coming through the door that night as he claims, he had justification to fire. The police had a search warrant and one of them was shot the moment they entered, giving them justification to fire back. In this case, that conflict of legal behavior on both sides led to one person dead (Taylor) and one who could have died (Mattingly).

Officer Brett Hankison was fired by the Louisville Metro PD last June. In September he was charged with “wanton endangerment” for firing recklessly into Taylor’s apartment and allegedly endangering other residents of the apartment complex.

Here’s a local news report from WLKY Louisville on the dismissal.