Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT who was killed by 3 plainclothes police officers who wrongly delivered a no-knock warrant (which is already constitutionally questionable) at her home in the middle of the night on March 13, 2020. The whole situation is tragic and frustrating and after 4 months, there's still been very little recourse against the officers responsible.
Aa new report from the Louisville Courier-Journal alleges an even more frustrating, bizarre, labyrinthine, and depressingly plausible scenario to explain how everything went so wrong on that fateful evening. The claims, which come from court filings by the lawyers representing Breonna Taylor's family, are not confirmed, nor do they even necessarily constitute legal evidence of any kind that would hold up in court; the Mayor's office in Louisville has called them "outrageous" and "without foundation or supporting facts." But they are, however, now a matter of record in the case. And while I agree that the whole thing sounds outrageous, it's also entirely believable, because shit like this does actually happen.
The court filings allege that Breonna Taylor's murder was an accidental result of other shady behaviors around the proposed Vision Russell Development Plan meant to revitalize the neighborhood (read: gentrification). The project had previously stagnated, but was finally starting to make some progress earlier this year when eight homes were demolished on Elliott Avenue over the course of a few weeks. One of homes on that street that was purchased by the city, but not destroyed, had been occupied by a man named Jamarcus Glover, an ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor's who also had a few small drug offenses on his record. According to available documents, the police showed up at Taylor's house that night under the impression that Glover was living there; they claimed to have confirmed through USPS that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor's house, but a U.S. Postal Inspector has denied that this ever happened.
The conspiracy laid out in the court filings essentially claims that city and real estate developers wanted to get people out of the properties on Elliott Avenue, and used the police to do their work for them, by concocting a fictionalized version of Glover that positioned him as some kind of major kingpin of drugs and crime. Or, as the Louisville Courier-Journal summarizes it:
Lawyers for Taylor's family allege in court documents filed in Jefferson Circuit Court Sunday that a police squad — named Place-Based Investigations — had "deliberately misled" narcotics detectives to target a home on Elliott Avenue, leading them to believe they were after some of the city's largest violent crime and drug rings.
The complaint — which amends an earlier lawsuit filed by Taylor's mother against the three Louisville officers who fired their weapons into Taylor's home — claims Taylor was caught up in a case that was less about a drug house on Elliott Avenue and more about speeding up the city's multi-million dollar Vision Russell development plan.
Glover was indeed arrested on the same night that Breonna Taylor was killed. But he was not at her house, because he never lived there.
Again, none of this plot is confirmed as fact. But it's not implausible, and it is now part of the legal case surrounding the killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.
Breonna Taylor warrant connected to Louisville gentrification plan, lawyers say [Phillip M. Bailey and Tessa Duvall / Louisville Courier Journal]
Image: Dana L Brown / Flickr (CC 2.0)