Attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, alleged in a new filing that officers were operating under information from an aggressive gentrification campaign in targeting Taylor’s residence. Three Louisville Metro Police Department officers entered the apartment in the early hours of March 13 with a “no-knock warrant,” before Taylor was shot eight times. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live at Taylor’s apartment, and no drugs were found at the residence. “While there is no doubt that gentrification of west Louisville neighborhoods could be a very good thing, the methods employed to do so have been unlawful and unconscionable,” attorneys said in the complaint.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was killed by police at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, is alleging that officers were acting as part of a larger gentrification plan that targeted residents in the area.
In a criminal complaint filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week published by Louisville CBS affiliate WLKY, the lawyers for Taylor’s family alleged that a plan to revamp the city’s Russell neighborhood was responsible for “radical political and police conduct” that resulted in Taylor’s death during a narcotics raid.
Three Louisville Metro Police Department officers — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — entered the apartment in the early hours of March 13 with a “no-knock warrant,” Insider previously reported. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live at Taylor’s apartment, and no drugs were found at the residence. Taylor’s family later filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.
A complaint filed late last month by attorneys representing Taylor’s family said that Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one round in self-defense while officers raided the apartment and Taylor “was shot at least eight times by the officers’ gunfire and died as a result,” even though she “had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands.”
In the newest filing, attorneys allege Louisville Metro Police operating in the same area as at least eight homes the city bought and demolished with plans for “a high investment, high dollar real estate deal” resulting in a development that is slated to include “modern, futuristic-looking homes, a cafe, an amphitheater, a state-of-the-art fitness center and more.”
According to the filing, the department developed a specialized squad, called Place-Based Investigations, formed to “to address systemically violent locations and complement LMPD’s existing focused-deterrence strategy.” But after time, the squad “deliberately misled” narcotics officers to target a remaining residence on Elliott Avenue in west Louisville.
“While there is no doubt that gentrification of west Louisville neighborhoods could be a very good thing, the methods employed to do so have been unlawful and unconscionable,” the attorneys alleged in the complaint.
Instead of the squad taking aim at ongoing violence, “the reality was that The Occupants were not anywhere close to Louisville’s versions of Pablo Escobar or Scarface,” the complaint said.
“They were not violent criminals,” the complaint added. “They were simply a setback to a large real estate development deal and thus the issue needed to be cleaned up.”
Local authorities and nonprofit groups in Louisville who are involved with community development plans dismissed the filing.
Paul Stillwell, also known as Rev. Bo Stillwell, the founder of Keeping it Real, a nonprofit working with the city since 2016 to lead community engagement efforts on Elliott Avenue, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the attorneys had described “a false narrative.”
The Courier-Journal also reported that the renderings of buildings included in the complaint by the attorneys to illustrate the upmarket neighborhood they claimed was in the works were produced by four University of Kentucky students for a first-year College of Design graduate class.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer told the outlet that any notion that the city would force homeowners or renters to move from the area in question is “without foundation or supporting facts.”
Taylor, whose 27th birthday would have been on June 5, has become a symbol for ongoing demands for legal action against Mattingly, Hankison, and Cosgrove, in addition to racial justice for Black Americans.
Attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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