LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Shooting victim Breonna Taylor was not the main target of the narcotics investigation that prompted Louisville police officers to enter her home unannounced March 13, police and court records show.
The Louisville Metro Police investigation, records show, was centered around a “trap house” more than 10 miles from Taylor’s apartment and two suspects police believed were selling drugs.
Breonna Taylor’s shooting death by Louisville police has raised questions about why police entered her home in the early morning hours of March 13 and opened fire on her in her apartment.
Police say that Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired first, wounding an officer. Walker says that he believed someone was breaking into the home and acted in self-defense.
Taylor, 26, was shot eight times by officers before being pronounced dead at the scene.
No body-camera footage is available because officers in the Criminal Interdiction Division who conducted the search warrant do not wear cameras, police chief Steve Conrad previously said.
Attorneys, activists and family members have said that Taylor and Walker, who was with her that night, were not the main target of the search warrants police were executing that night, and demand answers as to why police were there.
The warrant executed just before 1 a.m. March 13, however, did include Taylor’s home.
A judge signed off on a “no-knock” provision, meaning that police could enter her house without identifying themselves as members of law enforcement.
Just over 12 hours later, Taylor would be dead after what her attorneys called a “botched” warrant execution.
Despite the warrant’s no-knock provision, police said officers “knocked on the door several times and announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant.”
A lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family said multiple neighbors provided statements that police did not knock or identify themselves.
Walker, believing the apartment was being broken in to after being startled awake by police’s entry, fired a shot and struck an officer in the leg, his attorney has said. In return, police shot more than 20 rounds into the home.
So-called “no-knock” entry can be sought by Louisville police officers if there is reasonable suspicion that knocking would be dangerous, futile or inhibit the “effective investigation of the crime,” per the department’s standard operating procedures.
In this case, officers contended it was necessary because “these drug traffickers have a history of attempting to destroy evidence, have cameras on the location that compromise detectives once an approach to the dwelling is made, and have a history of fleeing from law enforcement.”
Taylor and her boyfriend had no criminal history or drug convictions. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Her address was listed in the search warrant, signed by a judge a day before Taylor’s death, based on police’s belief that one of the narcotics investigation suspects, Jamarcus Glover, used her home to receive mail, keep drugs or stash money earned from the sale of drugs, records show.
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Detective Joshua Jaynes wrote in an affidavit summarizing the investigation that led to the warrant that Glover walked into Taylor’s apartment one January afternoon and left with a “suspected USPS package in his right hand,” then got into his car and drove to a “known drug house.”
Jaynes verified through a U.S. postal inspector, according to the affidavit, that Glover had been receiving packages at her address.
“Affiant knows through training and experience that it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to receive mail packages at different locations to avoid detection from law enforcement,” he wrote.
In addition to Taylor’s home, police were authorized to search the two main suspects, Glover and Adrian Orlandes Walker, along with two vehicles connected to them. Kenneth Walker was not listed on the warrant. It is unknown if Adrian Walker and Kenneth Walker are related.
Police were also authorized to search Taylor and to seize any drugs, money suspected to be from drug trafficking, weapons, paperwork that could record narcotics sales and any paper that could be proof of individuals living in the residence.
Additional records show that a search warrant was executed on the same night as Taylor’s death at the suspected “trap house” and led to the seizure of “several ounces of suspected crack cocaine, marijuana and U.S. currency.”
Attorneys representing Taylor’s family say that Glover – who they say was the police’s intended target of the night’s warrants – was “located and identified by (police) prior to the warrant being executed at Breonna’s home.”
According to Glover’s arrest citation on March 13, the “violation time” was listed as 12:40 a.m. with the arrest following at 2:43 a.m. That would put Glover in police’s sight at the same time officers entered Taylor’s home.
Follow Tessa Duvall on Twitter @TessaDuvall