On the night Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers killed Breonna Taylor, they had a no-knock search warrant, which they executed at close to 1 a.m. The information used to obtain that warrant, however, is now being called into question, WDRB-TV reported.
What's the story? Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old emergency medical technician. On March 13, three officers executed the no-knock search warrant at her apartment on suspicion that Taylor was connected to a drug trafficking operation. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot and hit an officer in the leg. Taylor, who was unarmed, was shot eight times and killed. Walker has been charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
That same night, police arrested Jamarcus Glover. Police say they believed Glover was using Taylor's home to store drugs that were sometimes delivered by mail. This belief was based on surveillance footage showing Glover picking up a package from Taylor's home and taking it to a "known drug house," according to the warrant. Taylor's car had also been seen at Glover's residence in the past.
What's the problem? In the request for the warrant, police said they "verified with a U.S. postal inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages" at Taylor's home. However, Tony Gooden, the U.S. postal inspector in Louisville, said police never contacted his office to verify that information.
Gooden also told WDRB that there were "no packages of interest" going to Taylor's home. He said if LMPD went outside of his jurisdiction to verify information about packages to Taylor's residence, that would be highly unusual and inappropriate. From WDRB:
It is "possible" that Louisville police asked a mail inspector from another jurisdiction of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for help, Gooden said, but he said his office almost surely would have been notified of an outside agent's involvement.
That didn't happen, he said. If a postal inspector from another agency did review packages at Taylor's apartment without notifying him, it would be inappropriate.
"They are coming into my area of responsibility looking into something that I very well may also be looking into," Gooden said. "They shouldn't come into my area of responsibility doing anything without notifying me."
No-knock warrant justified? Legal representatives for Taylor's family and for Walker say Walker fired at officers because he didn't know who was breaking into the apartment. They say police did not identify themselves before coming in. Police officials maintain that the officers did identify themselves, even with the no-knock warrant.
Police requested a no-knock entry warrant "due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate. These drug traffickers have a history of attempting to destroy evidence, have cameras on location that compromise Detectives once an approach to the dwelling is made, and have a history of fleeing from law enforcement."
Police found no drugs during the search, and Taylor's home did not have any cameras.
Some legal experts question whether the no-knock warrant was justified, even if the information used to obtain it was true.
"If it was appropriate there, then every routine drug transaction would justify grounds for no-knock," University of Arkansas law professor Brian Gallini told the Courier Journal.