FBI opens investigation into death of Breonna Taylor

Victoria Albert

The FBI on Thursday opened an investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical worker who was shot and killed in her home by police in March. Police entered Taylor's home with a warrant to search for illegal drugs — but according to a suit filed by her family, none were found.

"The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner," Robert Brown, special agent in charge with FBI Louisville, said in a statement.

Officials from the Louisville Metro Police Department claimed that officers knocked on the door and announced themselves and they were "immediately met by gunfire" from Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, upon entering the home. One of the officers was shot in the leg, police said. Walker has been charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.

Taylor's family tells a different story, arguing in a wrongful death lawsuit that police didn't identify themselves, and that Walker, a licensed gun owner, thought someone was trying to break in. 

The lawsuit names two officers, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankinson, and a sergeant, Jonathan Mattingly, as defendants. It claims the trio came to the home in plainclothes and unmarked cars, and that they entered the home without saying they were police officers. 

"The Defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life," the lawsuit alleges. Taylor and Walker "believed the home had been broken into by criminals and that they were in significant, imminent danger," the suit added. 

Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison have been placed on administrative reassignment while the department conducts an internal investigation.

The police department announced policy changes after Taylor's death. "No-knock" search warrants now require approval from the police chief before they're sent to a judge, and officers will be required to wear cameras when executing the warrants.

After the FBI announced it would be investigating the case, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said he would retire before July, according to CBS affiliate WLKY-TV. The attorneys for Taylor's family celebrated his resignation as a step towards justice, adding, "We look forward to further investigation, including by the FBI, into the chain of events that led to Breonna's tragic and preventable death."

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