The charges filed against Kenneth Walker in connecting to the police-involved shooting that left dead his girlfriend, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, have been dropped by a Louisville judge, authorities said.
Walker, 27, had been charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer. Walker had previously pleaded not guilty and been released to "home incarceration” before a judge dismissed his case Friday.
“Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine announced that the charges against Kenneth Walker have been dismissed -- charges that never should have been filed,” attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, said in a statement. “This is a belated victory for justice and a powerful testament to the power of advocacy.”
Police obtained a no-knock warrant before using a battering ram to enter Taylor's apartment at around 1 a.m. as part of a narcotics investigation, according to court documents obtained by the Louisville-Courier Journal.
It was announced last week that the FBI is now investigating the death of Taylor.
Taylor's family has filed a lawsuit against three officers with the department, alleging Taylor and her boyfriend were home in bed and thought they were being burglarized when officers showed up at their home after midnight. Walker allegedly opened fire on cops with his licensed weapon and one officer was shot in the leg, police said. The lawsuit says police then fired more than 20 round into the home “blindly.”
Louisville police claim they knocked on Taylor’s door several times while executing their warrant before entering and identified themselves as police before they were “immediately met by gunfire,” according to Lt. Ted Eidem.
Neighbors of Taylor and Walker, however, said police did not identify themselves, according to the family’s lawsuit. Walker called 911 during the ordeal and police informed him he’d shot an officer.
Neither Taylor nor Walker were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used by another person to receive drugs. Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal history and no drugs were located in the home.
Days after a judge dropped Walker’s case, the outgoing Louisville Metro Police Chief has said the national exposure of Taylor’s death has caused safety concerns for his department.
Chief Steven Conrad, who announced last week he is retiring at the end of June in the wake of Taylor’s death, spoke to local Kentucky news outlet WLKY and said "These are difficult days. We're all at the center of the storm.”
"I ask you to stay focused on your job, to protect and serve this community, meet anger with compassion and professionalism," Conrad added.
The police department told WLKY that they have experienced hurtful messages not just by locals or people from the state, but from around the country following the news of Taylor’s killing.
“We have an 1,100-plus person agency; everybody is being shadowed with the actions of one incident," Sgt. Lamont Washington told WLKY. “The comment section is full of 'All cops need to die' and 'Kill pigs' and things like that.”
Washington said that last week when officers were responding to a call near where Taylor lived, cops were harassed and objects were thrown at them and ran away. No officers were injured.
"You can be passionate about what you believe is right or wrong and not be violent," he said.