Kenneth Walker cannot be charged again for allegedly shooting a police officer the night his girlfriend, Breonna Taylor, was killed by police in a middle-of-the-night raid.
On Monday, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens ordered the case against Walker be dismissed with prejudice. That means Walker cannot be charged again for his actions on March 13, 2020.
That decision came days after prosecutors indicated they would not pursue any such charges. Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said as much in a March 4, 2021, filing.
“To the best of the Commonwealth’s knowledge, but for the investigation by the US Department of Justice, the investigations into this matter have concluded and no new information relevant to the charges against Defendant in this matter has been brought to the Commonwealth’s attention. As such, the Commonwealth moves the Court to amend its prior dismissal of this matter without prejudice to a dismissal with prejudice,” Wine wrote.
Wine first dropped charges of first degree assault and attempting to murder a police officer against Walker last May. But that was done without prejudice, allowing further investigation to potentially give way to prosecution.
Walker fired one shot when police broke down Taylor’s door just before 1 a.m. He later said he thought they were intruders, and that he did not hear them identify themselves as police. The officers were there to conduct a search related to a broader narcotics investigation related to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover. Three officers returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times and killing her.
One officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, was shot in the leg and underwent surgery. Louisville Metro Police alleged Walker shot Mattingly; Walker’s attorneys previously said there was no proof of that. Walker sued the city and others for immunity under Kentucky’s “stand your ground” law last September.
That lawsuit will continue in hopes that a judge will rule Walker was immune from prosecution as a matter of law because he was acting in self-defense, his lawyer Steve Romines said.
“It would mean that Kenny should have never been charged in the first place, which we all know that is true,” Romines said.
He said an immunity ruling would “basically terminate” the counterclaim against Walker by Mattingly for battery, assault and emotional distress.
“[Walker] is very happy. But you know, he wants it over,” Romines said. “It’s just a shame it’s taken a year for this to happen.”
In an Instagram post over the weekend, following news of prosecutors’ desire to dismiss the case with prejudice, Walker wrote, “I’m blessed for sure but there’s a lot more to be done we gonna get justice for Breonna Taylor.”
Taylor’s family is planning a rally for accountability at Jefferson Square Park this weekend. That space, nicknamed “Breonna Square” and “Injustice Square” became the center of racial justice protests in Louisville in 2020 that followed Taylor’s killing.
One officer involved in the raid, former Det. Brett Hankison, was charged in September with wanton endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors. No officers were charged for killing her. Hankison was fired along with two others, former detectives Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes, for their actions related to the case.
An FBI investigation into the fatal shooting of Taylor and the related case is ongoing.