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Charges permanently dropped against Breonna Taylor's boyfriend

Charges permanently dropped against Breonna Taylor's boyfriend
© CBS News/Twitter

A judge on Monday ruled that charges against Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, for shooting a Louisville, Ky., police officer would be permanently dropped.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens declared that the charges against Walker would be dismissed with prejudice preventing him from being charged with the March 13 incident that resulted in his girlfriend’s death, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. 

Walker had fired a single shot at police, striking Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, as three plainclothes officers executed a search warrant in Taylor’s apartment. He was charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer.

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He has stood by statements that he thought the police, who came shortly before 1 a.m., were intruders.

Mattingly and detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove fired 32 rounds in response, including some that struck and killed Taylor.

The charges were dropped after Jefferson Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine’s office filed for their dismissal with prejudice last week.

Wine had requested a further investigation after charges against Walker were dismissed in May 2020, but his office noted last week that “no new information relevant to the charges against [Walker] in this matter has been brought to the commonwealth’s attention.”

"As such, the commonwealth moves the court to amend its prior dismissal of this matter without prejudice to a dismissal with prejudice," the document from Wine’s office said, according to the newspaper. 

Walker commented on the office’s request to dismiss charges last week in an Instagram post, saying, “I’m blessed for sure but there’s a lot more to be done we gonna get justice for Breonna Taylor.”

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His lawyer Steve Romines said in a statement obtained by the Courier-Journal, "We believe the city used Kenneth as a pawn to cover up the events that took place on March 13, 2020, and further used him to cover up the deep-seated failures within the Louisville Metro Police Department.”

“It does not go unnoticed that neither the city nor the LMPD has apologized for using Kenneth as a scapegoat for an improper raid gone bad,” Romines added.

Walker took on Louisville and its police department by filing a lawsuit requesting immunity from prosecution under Kentucky’s “stand your ground” self-defense law and damages as an alleged victim of police misconduct. The suit is ongoing. 

Stevens declined a motion to give Walker immunity, calling the effort now “moot,” according to the Courier-Journal. 

Mattingly, the officer shot in the leg, had filed a countersuit against Walker in October for alleged battery, assault and emotional distress. 

Mattingly, who was fired from the department in January, said in an interview shortly before filing the suit that he would allow prosecutors to decide if Walker’s charges were valid. His lawyer declined to comment to The Hill on the dismissal of Walker's charges on Monday.

No officer was directly charged with Taylor's death, and a grand jury approved three charges of wanton endangerment against Hankison for firing into a neighboring apartment.

Taylor's killing, along with the death of George Floyd, contributed to sparking protests around the world against police brutality and racial injustice.

Floyd died after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes. Chauvin faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in a trial that was slated to begin Monday.

But jury selection was pushed back to at least Tuesday as an additional third-degree murder charge against Chauvin was being considered. 

—Updated at 5:47 p.m.