Charges permanently dropped against Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend for shooting officer the night she was killed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The charges against Kenneth Walker stemming from last March’s fatal Louisville Metro Police shooting of Breonna Taylor have been permanently dismissed.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens ruled the charges would be dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged for the March 13, 2020, incident.

Walker, Taylor’s then-boyfriend, was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer after he shot Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh as police burst into Taylor’s apartment with a search warrant shortly before 1 a.m.

Walker has maintained he did not know police were at the door and thought intruders were breaking in.

Those charges were dismissed without prejudice in May 2020, with Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine calling for more investigation to determine if criminal charges were warranted and Walker should be recharged.

Wine said then he believed officers knocked and announced themselves before ramming in Taylor’s door but added it was conceivable Walker did not hear them announce they were police. 

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Mattingly, who required surgery after the bullet severed an artery, said in October he understood it might be difficult to get 12 jurors to unanimously agree beyond a reasonable doubt that Walker knowingly fired at a police officer.

“I’m not naive enough to believe that, A, maybe Kenneth Walker didn’t hear us, or B, that (attorneys) couldn’t convince one out of 12 people that he didn’t hear us,” Mattingly said.

Kenneth Walker, center, the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, spoke with protester Montez Jones, left, at Jefferson Square Park before a protest caravan.
02/25/21 (Photo: Scott Utterback/Courier Journal )

In a motion filed last week, Wine’s office moved to dismiss those charges with prejudice, writing “no new information relevant to the charges against (Walker) in this matter has been brought to 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,” according to the filing signed by Wine and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ebert Haegele.

Walker’s attorneys have argued he should also be granted immunity from prosecution under Kentucky’s “stand your ground” provisions.

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Walker sued the city and LMPD in September, seeking immunity from prosecution and damages, alleging he was the victim of police misconduct.

Stevens, however, denied a motion to grant Walker immunity, saying it was now “moot.”

A declaration of immunity would mean Walker could not face prosecution or civil litigation for the March 13 shooting. Walker currently faces a counterclaim from Mattingly.

Contributing: Darcy Costello, Louisville Courier Journal

Follow reporter Tessa Duvall on Twitter: @TessaDuvall

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