Keith Griffith, Daily Mail, October 7, 2020
The Louisville Metro Police Department has released the contents of its internal investigation following the death of Breonna Taylor, including photos of her brandishing guns and text messages that indicate her boyfriend Kenneth Walker sold drugs.
On Wednesday, LMPD released 4,470 pages including investigative reports, interview summaries and evidence reports, as well as 251 videos and hundreds of photos.
Taylor’s death in a hail of police bullets early on March 13 sparked protests nationwide, and the document dump follows a controversial grand jury ruling that saw no officers directly charged in her death.
Included in the new documents are photos of Taylor and Walker posing with guns, as well as text messages that strongly suggest that Walker was involved in the sale of illegal drugs.
Walker was a licensed gun owner able to legally carry in Kentucky. He was not named in the search warrant used to enter Taylor’s home, and he was not a target in the drug investigation of Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, that led to the raid on her apartment.
In one photo recovered from Walker’s phone, Taylor poses with him as he holds a silver and black Glock 9mm that strongly resembles the gun Walker used to fire on police during the raid. He also shows off a ‘pistol style’ Springfield Saint AR-15.
‘Partners in crime’ reads the caption at the bottom of the photo, along with a cartoon of handcuffs.
In text messages, Walker said that he purchased the Glock from a ‘white boy’ and that it wasn’t registered to him, but that he had a bill of sale.
In one text message to Walker, Taylor sent an image of herself with the AR-15 pistol.
In another, she asks for a picture of the AR-15 pistol to show to a ‘white boy’ she works with who might be interested in purchasing it, according to the new documents.
The trove of investigative files revealed:
- Walker had been involved in the sale of drugs, according to messages recovered from his phone by police.
- Walker told investigators he and Breonna were ‘scared to death’ when they heard banging on the door on March 13 and he feared it was her drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
- Breonna asked who was at the door by screaming ‘loud at the top of her lungs’, but did not get an answer
- Detective Joshua Jaynes, who sought the warrant at Breonna’s address, admitted he did not have evidence that the parcels Glover was receiving at her home were suspicious.
- SWAT team involved in the narcotics investigation that night had been unaware of the raid at Breonna’s address.
- SWAT team member Lt. Dale Massey described the execution of the warrant as an ‘egregious act.’
In the course of the investigation, police also recovered evidence that Walker was involved in the sale of drugs.
In police interviews, Walker said that he was not involved in serious criminal activity, but did say that he sometimes personally used marijuana.
However, a search of his phone ‘found numerous conversations about drug trafficking,’ investigators said in the newly released documents.
In several ‘chats’ described in the documents, Walker discusses selling ‘pills’ to Hooters waitresses.
In another conversation, he sent an image of a bag of marijuana, advertising it as ‘Cali High Grade Premium Cannabis 1LB,’ according to the documents.
In other messages, Walker offered to sell half ounces for $25, or two ‘zips’, slang for ounces, for $260, the documents state.
The messages with more than two dozen apparent customers span the fall of 2019 to March of this year, just prior to the raid.
In another group chat, Walker discussed robbing someone, the documents state. Walker asked how much ‘bread’ the target had, and another person replied that it was at least $25,000.
When someone in the chat asked if it was an easy target or whether they needed to to homework, Walker replied that he ‘does his homework on every mission,’ according to the documents.
The new documents reveal that police insisted that they knocked and announced themselves, but that Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker said that they only heard the knocking, and did not hear police identify themselves.
Walker said the couple was ‘scared to death’ because they feared it was her drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. He opened fire down a hallway as the door was breached, striking one officer in the leg, and cops returned fire, killing Taylor.
The raid unfolded as part of a series of simultaneous raids on multiple locations associated with Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, a suspected drug trafficker.
Cops believed Taylor’s home was the ‘money house’ where Glover ‘housed the dope,’ the new documents state, but no significant amounts of drugs or money were found there – and investigators later raised questions about the evidence used to tie Glover to Taylor’s home.
Taylor’s name came up in the drug case at least in part because she had posted bail a few times from 2017 to January 2020 for Glover and another defendant, Darreal Forest, in amounts that went as high as $5,000, according to the police files released on Wednesday.
Taylor’s apartment was considered a ‘soft target’ by police conducting the raid, and they believed she was home alone. Walker, a licensed gun owner, was not expected to be there and his relationship with Taylor appears to have been unknown to police.
The documents reveal that the cops executing the raid decided to knock and announce themselves, despite having a ‘no-knock’ warrant, because they considered the location to be low-risk.
Walker, believing it was an intruder, shot at the officers, striking Sergeant Jon Mattingly in the leg, prompting them to return fire and kill Taylor in a hail of bullets.
The 27-year-old was charged with attempted murder, however those charges were later dropped.
Walker has maintained that the officers did not identify themselves a police when they arrived at the apartment.
During his interview with the Public Integrity Unit, he said the couple were awoken after they heard a ‘loud thud.’
He did not mention Glover by name but said he thought it may have been a ‘guy’ Taylor was on and off with.
‘It scared her [Breonna] to death. Me too, like who is that. I was honestly thinkin’ – because we been on and off together for like, seven years, or whatever… there was a guy that she was messin’ with or whatever throughout that time,’ Walker told investigators.
‘And he popped over there once before while I was there like a couple months ago. So that’s what I thought was goin’ on.’
The report notes that Walker’s reference to the ‘guy’ showing up at the apartment months prior corresponds to the same time frame when Glover was spotted at Taylor’s home.
He also notes he never fired his gun ‘outside of a gun range’.
After hearing the ‘loud boom at the door’, Walker said he asked who was there and did not get a response.
He said Breonna then tried asking and screamed ‘who is it? Loud at the top of her lungs’, but they still did not get an answer.
Walker then describes walking over to the door and firing one gun shot.
The interview was among hundreds of files related to the Louisville Police Department’s investigation into Taylor’s death that were finally released on Wednesday.
The files were made public on Wednesday nearly a week after hours of audio from normally secret grand jury proceedings were released by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said much of the information in the files was included in the records from the grand jury proceedings.