Breonna Taylor’s death has gained increasing international attention after Wednesday’s announcement that no officers would be indicted for her death.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky State Police ballistics report does not support state Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s assertion that Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot a Louisville police officer the night she was killed.
Cameron told reporters Wednesday the investigation of Taylor’s death March 13 had ruled out “friendly fire” from ex-officer Brett Hankison as the source of the shot that went through Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly’s thigh, prompting him and Officer Myles Cosgrove to return fire, killing Taylor.
The KSP report says “due to limited markings of comparative value,” the 9-mm bullet that hit and exited Mattingly was neither “identified nor eliminated as having been fired” from Walker’s gun.
Cameron said Hankison had been eliminated as the shooter because the three officers were all carrying .40 caliber handguns, while Walker had a 9.
But appearing later that night on CNN, Steve Romines, one of Walker’s attorneys, said he had obtained a Louisville Metro Police Department record showing Hankison had been issued a 9 mm weapon as well.
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Romines declined to share the record from Hankison’s personnel file with The Louisville Courier Journal, and LMPD spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said she could only release it in response to an open-records request.
The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, filed one, but the department hasn’t responded.
Another attorney for Walker, Rob Eggert, provided the ballistic report, which was first reported by Vice.
Walker has admitted he fired what he has described as a single warning shot from his Glock handgun at Taylor’s apartment because he thought intruders were breaking in. Police were attempting to serve a “no-knock” search warrant shortly before 1 a.m. March 13 at Taylor’s home as part of a larger narcotics investigation.
Cameron announced Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged with any crime because they had a right to defend themselves. Hankison, who was fired in June, was charged with three counts of wantonly endangering Taylor’s neighbors by firing shots that entered their apartment.
He was not charged with endangering Taylor.
Cameron has declined to explain that discrepancy or respond to 13 other questions about the case submitted by The Courier Journal. His spokeswoman said Saturday that the office was not scheduling interviews and couldn’t talk about the grand jury proceedings because of secrecy rules governing them.
Cameron said last week Mattingly fired six shots, Cosgrove 16 and Hankison 10, and Taylor was hit six times.
He said FBI ballistic examiners concluded Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor but KSP was unable to determine if Cosgrove or Mattingly fired that bullet.
The shot hit Taylor’s pulmonary artery, killing her within minutes.
The city of Louisville paid $12 million to settle a wrongful death suit filed by Taylor’s estate and to make numerous changes in police department policies and procedures.
Follow reporter Andrew Wolfson on Twitter: @adwolfson.
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