Breonna Taylor’s shooting was tied to a broader Louisville Police Department operation to gentrify the western part of the city, according to lawyers representing her family. The lawyers say the slain 26-year-old’s apartment had been targeted by narcotics detectives who’d been “deliberately misled” by a police squad.
From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
The complaint — which amends an earlier lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother against the three Louisville officers who fired their weapons into Taylor’s home — claims Taylor was caught up in a case that was less about a drug house on Elliott Avenue and more about speeding up the city’s multi-million dollar Vision Russell development plan.
“The execution of this search warrant robbed Breonna of her life and Tamika Palmer of her daughter,” Attorney Benjamin Crumptold The Courier Journal. “Its execution exhibited outrageous recklessness and willful, wanton, unprecedented and unlawful conduct.”
A spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer denied the allegations, calling them “outrageous.”
“They are insulting to the neighborhood members of the Vision Russell initiative and all the people involved in the years of work being done to revitalize the neighborhoods of west Louisville,” Jean Porter said in a statement. “The Mayor is absolutely committed to that work, as evidenced by the city’s work to support $1 billion in capital projects there over the past few years, including a new YMCA, the city’s foundational $10 million grant to the Louisville Urban League’s Sports and Learning Complex, the Cedar Street housing development, new businesses, down payment home ownership assistance, and of course, the remaking of the large Beecher Terrace initiative.”
According to the complaint, the warrant that led to Taylor’s death targeted a man named Jamarcus Glover, who was seen as one of the development’s “primary roadblocks.” Glover had dated Taylor in the past and was still a friend of hers, according to lawyers. Detectives said they’d seen Glover leave Taylor’s apartment with a USPS package, and claimed they’d confirmed “through a US Postal Inspector” that Glover had been receiving regular packages at Taylor’s address, leading them to believe the house was part of a drug ring.
But a U.S. postal inspector in Louisville told local reporters that the police department had never contacted them about Taylor’s address. In fact, they said a different agency had asked them to look into Taylor’s address in January and had found no evidence of suspicious activity at the time. Interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder said that the detective who obtained the warrant for Taylor’s residence is on administrative reassignment until the department can figure out “how and why the search warrant was approved.”
“Breonna’s home should never have had police there in the first place,” lawyers wrote. “When the layers are peeled back, the origin of Breonna’s home being raided by police starts with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project and finishes with a newly formed, rogue police unit violating all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards. Breonna’s death was the culmination of radical political and police conduct.”