Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker said they had been watching a movie in bed when police fatally shot her during a botched drug raid at Taylor’s apartment on March 13.
“To the world, she’s just a hashtag, a picture,” he told CBS in an interview broadcast in the United States on Wednesday.
“But to me, it was much more, more than a girlfriend too. I think that’s what I want the world to know the most. That was my best friend … The most important person pretty much to me on Earth. And they took her.”
No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. The officers said that they had been investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, who did not live at her address. They entered the apartment using a no-knock warrant.
Protesters marching after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentucky on September 26, 2020 [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]Police told investigators they banged on her door and announced themselves from 30 to 90 seconds before breaking in.
Street protesters have called for the arrest of the officers involved in the raid and demanded justice for Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician whose family won a $12m wrongful death settlement from the city of Louisville.
One of the officers has been charged with “wanton endangerment” for firing into the home of Taylor’s neighbours, but no one has been charged directly over the killing.
Walker has said he believed the plainclothes officers who burst in might have been Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. He fired once, wounding one officer. Police then fired 32 rounds, six of which hit Taylor.
Hours later and with his voice breaking with emotion, the recordings showed, Walker told police he and Taylor were “scared to death” at the banging at the door, with Taylor yelling “Who is it?” at the top of her lungs but hearing no response.
The recordings made over three days of court proceedings show police were confused by the burst of their own gunfire. One officer said he did not realise he had fired his weapon until after the fact, while another who opened fire mistakenly feared his colleagues were being shot by an AR-15 rifle.
Memorial of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, the United States [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]“I’m a million percent sure that nobody identified themselves,” Walker recalled during the CBS interview. “If they had knocked on the door and say who it was, we could hear them. It was dead silent.”
A licenced gun owner, Walker said the moment was “the one time” he had to use his weapon.
“If it was the police at the door and they just said, ‘We’re the police,” me or Breonna didn’t have a reason at all not to open the door to see what they wanted,” Walker said.
He said the door flew off its hinges and he fired a single shot, thinking he was defending the apartment during a home invasion.
Then police opened fire. Walker said he never heard so many gunshots at the same time.
“I’ve never been to war. But I assume that’s what war probably sounds like,” he said.
Three officers combined fired 32 shots into the apartment, with “bullets coming in every direction,” Walker said.
He said he had been holding Taylor’s hand during the gunfire when he heard her scream.
“I pulled her down to the ground. But, you know, she was scared so she just didn’t get down,” he said.
Protesters march against racial injustice and for Black women following the grand jury decision in Louisville’s Breonna Taylor case, in Denver, Colorado, the US [File: Kevin Mohatt/Reuters]When the gunfire stopped, Walker said Taylor was alive and bleeding. He called his mother as he held her.
However, Walker believes that if he had been killed alongside Taylor that night, the public would “definitely not” be hearing her story.
“You probably wouldn’t even know about it,” he said. “If I didn’t live, you probably wouldn’t even know about Breonna Taylor.”
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