One of three police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting has sued Ms Taylor’s boyfriend for assault and battery, the latest development in a case that has electrified this year’s widespread protests for racial justice.
In a court document filed Thursday, the officer’s attorney, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, said he should be entitled to compensatory damages for the medical treatment, trauma, physical pain and mental anguish he experienced following the night of Ms Taylor’s death .
When three white cops raided Ms Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Ky., On March 13, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a gunshot that injured one of the cops in the leg, police said. When the injured officer Sergeant Mattingly fired back, the bullet missed Mr Walker, who ducked but hit Ms Taylor, who was standing next to him, Sgt Mattingly’s lawyer said in a file.
Prosecutors initially charged Mr Walker, 27, with attempted murder, but dropped the charges in May. Mr Walker, who said he fired the shot because he feared an intruder, then sued the Louisville Metro Police Department and the City of Louisville and sought immunity on the basis of a law state authorizing the use of reasonable force, including lethal force, to protect against intruders in his home.
Steve Romines, Mr Walker’s lawyer, said on Friday the charges were baseless.
“This is the latest in a cycle of police assault, misappropriation of responsibility and obstruction of the facts in what is an obvious cover-up,” Romines said. “If Kenny can be sued in his defense, make no mistake, all the legitimate rights of gun owners are at risk. And that should scare everyone.
Kent Wicker, lawyer for Sergeant Mattingly, said in a statement Friday that Mr Walker nearly killed his client.
“He has the right and should use legal process to seek redress for the harm Walker has caused him,” Wicker said.
Ms Taylor’s death came two months before George Floyd died in police custody and just weeks after Ahmaud Arbery was killed by armed white men while jogging. The death of Ms Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, has become a rallying cry for tens of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets in the spring and summer to demand justice.
Unlike the cases of Mr Floyd and Mr Arbery, whose deaths were captured on video, Ms Taylor’s death was not filmed – the Louisville cops who broke into her home were not carrying body cameras – and some of the details surrounding the shooting were unclear.
In September, a grand jury evaluating the evidence in the case decided not to charge two of the officers who had repeatedly shot Ms. Taylor. The third officer, Brett Hankison, has been charged with reckless endangerment for shooting at a neighbor’s apartment.
Mr. Hankison was the only officer fired as a result of the matter. No one has been charged with causing Ms Taylor’s death. No drugs were found in his apartment the night of the raid.
After the grand jury’s decision was announced, protesters took to the streets of Louisville, Chicago, New York and other cities to protest the decision, which they said did not hold police sufficiently responsible for the death of Mrs. Taylor.
Last month, in an email to his colleagues, Sergeant Mattingly denounced the police department command staff, the mayor and the FBI.
“It‘s sad how the good guys are demonized,” he wrote, “and criminals are canonized.”
Michael Levenson, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Derrick Bryson Taylor and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.