Family of woman killed by police in her home hires civil rights attorney

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney has been hired by the family of a black woman who was fatally shot by Kentucky police in her home.

Attorney Ben Crump has represented the families of other high-profile black shooting victims, including Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.

He was hired Monday by the family of Breonna Taylor, who was 26 when officers entered her Louisville home early March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation and fatally shot her, news outlets reported.

Police said they were returning fire after one officer was shot in the apartment and wounded.

A defense attorney for Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said in court filings that Walker fired in self-defense because police did not announce themselves and he thought officers were breaking in.

The police department has declined to answer several questions about the case, citing an ongoing internal investigation.

Taylor's family filed a lawsuit last month police that says the officers were not looking for Taylor or her boyfriend, but for a suspect who was already in custody.

"Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times by the officers' gunfire and died as a result. Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands," reads the complaint, which was filed by two local attorneys.

Crump called the killing "inexcusable" in a statement to news outlets.

"We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department," Crump said. "Despite the tragic circumstances surrounding her death, the Department has not provided any answers regarding the facts and circumstances of how this tragedy occurred, nor have they taken responsibility for her senseless killing."

Louisville Metro Police Department spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said in an email that the internal investigation continues. She declined to comment further.

Crump also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was fatally shot in February in a coastal Georgia town. A white father and son were arrested last week after video emerged of them confronting Arbery, which led to a struggle with punches thrown, three shots fired and Arbery collapsing dead.

The men told police they suspected Arbery was a burglar and it took more than two months for the arrests, which is fueling calls for the resignation of local authorities who initially investigated the case and reforms to Georgia's criminal justice system.

Crump also was involved in the 2012 case of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black Florida teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.