Citizen Killed and Police Officer Shot
On March 13, 2020, Police Officers from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department executed a search warrant 3003 Springfield Drive. The warrant would leave one person dead, one police officer shot, and have an effect on the entire nation.
Just after the entry team breached the door, a shot rang out. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly was shot in the leg by a man, later identified as Kenneth Walker, standing at the end of a hallway in the apartment. He returned fire, firing six rounds at the man who shot him. The officer behind him shot sixteen rounds and an officer covering the rear of the building shot ten rounds.
Walker dove out of the way of the incoming fusillade. His girlfriend Breonna Taylor was standing behind him and was shot six times. She died immediately.
Critiques of the warrant started immediately. The apartment was never searched by the police. Witnesses conflicted each other over the announcement and identification made by the police. The officer who shot from the rear of the apartment was tried and found not guilty of wanton recklessness. An officer who swore information for the warrant that was not true was indicted and plead guilty in federal court. There are three other officers facing civil rights violation charges by the Department of Justice. The Louisville Police Department fired just about everyone who was involved in the incident. Even the Chief resigned.
The incident set off national debate and protests. In Louisville and around the country, no-knock search warrants were outlawed or not signed. The US House of Representatives passed a Justice in Policing bill that aimed to combat police misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias. The bill has yet to become law. The Louisville Metro Police Department began wearing body cameras after the incident. The department also made policy changes in their search warrant process.
In March of 2023 the Department of Justice announced a consent decree on the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department. Citing violations large and small the Civil Rights Division will be overseeing the department for an undetermined but probably lengthy amount of time. Homicides in Louisville have more than tripled in the past ten years. We wouldn’t bet on them going down anytime soon. Another situation where there are no winners.