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The Louisville Police Department on Wednesday released thousands of pieces of evidence including photos and videos related to an internal investigation following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor showing her brandishing guns and her boyfriend selling drugs.
The department released 4,470 pages of documents that include investigative reports, evidence reports, and summaries of interviews. In addition, the department also released 251 videos and hundreds of photos, one of which shows Taylor posing with boyfriend Kenneth Walker flashing guns and labeled, “Partners in Crime.”
Taylor was killed by police during a March 13 in which Walker fired at, and wounded, one of the officers, who responded by firing dozens of shots in return. Reports said Taylor was struck eight times.
The evidence released by the Louisville Metro Police Department includes text messages that suggest very strongly that Walker was selling illegal drugs.
Walker is a licensed gun owner and able to carry legally in Kentucky. He wasn’t named in the search warrant executed at Taylor’s apartment. Also, he wasn’t a target of the department’s drug investigation into Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, that led to the raid, the Daily Mail reported.
In one photo that was recovered from Walker’s smartphone, Taylor is seen posing with him as he brandishes a silver and black Glock 9mm handgun that appears to be the same one he used to fire on police during their raid. He is also holding an AR-15-style rifle.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) October 8, 2020
The photo is captioned, “Partners in Crime” in cartoon lettering that also features a pair of handcuffs.
In one text, Walker told Taylor he bought the Glock from a “white boy” and that the pistol was not registered to him, though he had a bill of sale.
In a photo texted to Walker, Taylor is seen posing with the rifle. In another text, she asks Walker to send a photo of the rifle so she can show a “white boy” she worked with who might have been interested in buying it, the documents show.
Walker told police in subsequent interviews that he sometimes personally smoked marijuana but was not involved in any serious criminal activity. But a search of his phone turned up “numerous conversations about drug trafficking,” according to investigators.
In a number of “chats,” Walker talked about selling “pills” to waitresses at a local Hooters restaurant. In one conversation, he included a photo of a bag of pot, describing it as “Cali High Grade Premium Cannabis 1LB,” the documents state.
Other messages show Walker offering to sell half-ounces for $25, or a couple “zips,” which is slang for ounces, for $260.
The messages range from the fall of 2019 to March, right before the raid on Taylor’s apartment.
In one conversation, Walker talked about robbing someone, asking how much “bread” the target had, with another person replying the amount was at least $25,000.
After someone involved in the chat asked about how difficult it would be and if needed to do some scouting or research, Walker replied that he “does his homework on every mission,” the documents said.
The documents also note that officers insisted they knocked and announced themselves, but that Walker and Taylor only heard the knocking, not the announcement. Also, the couple said they feared Taylor’s ex-boyfriend was at the door, which is why Walker fired.
Taylor’s apartment was raided as others associated with Glover occurred simultaneously. The documents state that police believed Glover was a drug trafficker and that Taylor’s apartment was a “money house” where he “housed the dope,” the documents say.
Taylor’s death sparked demonstrations and protests. None of the three officers involved were charged with her shooting death, though one, Brett Hankinson, was charged in connection with reckless discharge of his weapon.
Following a news conference by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron last month, in which he was widely criticized for not charging any of the officers with murder, he authorized the release of hours of audio from normally secret grand jury proceedings as justification for his decision.
Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who was shot by Walker during the raid, told investigators the team knocked and yelled “Police!” several times, for around 45 seconds or so, before breaking down the apartment door.
“As soon as I cleared it I’m facing on about probably 20 feet away right down the hallway. There’s a bedroom door on the right and there’s a – the male and the female,” he told investigators, according to the documents.
He said the male subject was in a “stretched out position with his hands, with a gun.”
“And as soon as I clear, he fires – boom,” he continued. “My mind’s going, this ain’t right. You know, something’s off here. Because all of the doors I’ve made entry and I’ve never seen this.
“Soon as the shot hit, I could feel heat in my leg. And so I just returned fire,” Mattingly told investigators.
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