The fatal shooting of an unarmed Black woman in her home by Louisville Metro Police Department officers in March is gaining national attention. On Monday, civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump announced he had been hired by the family of Breonna Taylor.
Crump has represented the families of other Black shooting victims, including Trayvon Martin and, currently, Ahmaud Arbery, whose alleged shooters were arrested last week after video of the February incident became public. The shooting occurred in Georgia. Like Taylor, Martin and Arbery were unarmed when they were shot and killed. Crump called Arbery’s murder a lynching.
He called Taylor’s death “inexcusable.”
“We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department. Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the Department has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing,” Crump said, according to a press release distributed Monday.
He is representing Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer in a lawsuit against three LMPD officers that was filed late last month in Jefferson Circuit Court. Local attorneys Craig Aguiar and Lonita Baker are also representing Palmer.
“Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times by the officers’ gunfire and died as a result. Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands,” reads the complaint, which was filed by Aguiar and Baker.
They are asking for a jury trial as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for LMPD, said in an email that an internal investigation into the case is ongoing and declined to comment further.
Taylor, a certified EMT, and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep when police arrived at her home around 1 a.m. on March 13, 2020, to serve a search warrant, according to Walker’s attorney Rob Eggert in court documents. When they entered, Walker fired a shot that hit an officer in the leg. He had surgery soon after and recovered.
Three police shot back and struck Taylor eight times, killing her. Eggert said in a court document that he believed the officers fired at least 22 bullets.
They were placed on administrative reassignment while under investigation. No one has been charged in Taylor’s death.
Whether the officers identified themselves before forcing entry is a matter of dispute, with LMPD saying they did and Eggert saying they did not.
Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and assault in the first degree. Although Lt. Ted Eidem, who is with LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit, said after the incident that police were there to execute a search warrant for a narcotics investigation, Walker was not charged with a drug offense. There were no drugs found at the apartment, according to Walker’s father in an affidavit.
In late March, Walker was released to home incarceration, a move that drew criticism from LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and the police union.
Taylor’s story spread across social media networks over the weekend after activist Shaun King, who is from Kentucky, shared her picture on Instagram.
This story was updated to include information about a pending lawsuit.