May 16 (UPI) — The mayor and police chief in Louisville, Ky., called on federal authorities’ help to review the police department’s internal investigation into three officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her bed during a raid.
Their request comes amid uproar in the city from Taylor’s family and activists who said her death was “senseless” and may have been racially influenced.
“My priority is always that the truth comes out,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement Thursday. “That’s why my administration has requested a thorough review of the investigation currently underway, and why I am committed to a process that restores trust in our police and community relations.”
He and Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad asked the FBI and the U.S. Attorney to review the findings of the internal investigation, as well as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
“We can be transparent with the people of our city,” Fischer said. “And we can and we must also talk about the relationship between our police and our communities of color: past, present and future.”
Taylor died in the early hours of March 13, when three plainclothes officers carried out a drug raid on her apartment, which she shared with boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Walker said the officers didn’t identify themselves, so he grabbed his gun and shot at them, injuring one of the officers in the leg.
The officers responded with fire, striking Taylor eight times, killing her. Walker’s attorney, Rob Eggert, said officers shot at least 22 bullets.
Taylor, 26, was a certified emergency medical technician, and was not the subject of the raid. She had no criminal history.
Her family filed a lawsuit in late April, accusing the three officers — Myles Cosgrove, Brett Hankison and Jonathan Mattingly — of wrongful death, excessive force and negligence. They’re seeking a jury trial with compensatory and punitive damages.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, the plaintiff in the suit, took issue with the officers’ use of a “no-knock” search warrant, which means that, by definition, they didn’t announce themselves when entering the apartment.
“The defendants had absolute, certain and imperative duties to knock, announce their presence, give Breonna and Kenneth notice that they were peace officers there to serve a warrant, offer to show Breonna and Kenneth the warrant and afford the opportunity to be let into the home,” the lawsuit says.
Palmer’s lawyer, Ben Crump, described Taylor’s death as an “execution.” The attorney, who also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man killed during a citizens arrest in Georgia in February, blamed both on race.
“You can’t walk while black. With Ahmaud, you can’t jog while black,” Crump said during a news conference Wednesday. “But Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of her own home.”