Attorneys Say Raid That Ended In Breonna Taylor's Killing Is Connected To Louisville Gentrification Efforts
Police were looking for Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who occupied a home on Elliott Avenue.
July 07, 2020 at 2:42 pm
Lawyers representing Breonna Taylor's family say the March killing of the young EMT is allegedly connected to a major gentrification effort.
Although police reports stated that officers were searching for drugs when they raided Taylor's home and shot the 26-year-old, the attorneys are now saying that the case was more about the city's multimillion-dollar development plan, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
Filing court documents on Sunday, the attorneys for Taylor's family said a police squad named Place-Based Investigations (PBI) "deliberately misled" narcotics detectives by making them believe they were targeting major drug distributors. The mission of PBI is to zero in on regions of neighborhoods that are at the center of development plans. These regions include places where crimes are believed to be taking place.
"The reality was that The Occupants were not anywhere close to Louisville's versions of Pablo Escobar or Scarface," the lawyers stated according to CBS News.
They say the raid was part of a plan to gentrify the block.
According to WHAS11, police were looking for Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who occupied a home on Elliott Avenue with Adrian Walker and another person who was the target of a criminal investigation. The home on Elliott Avenue was about 10 miles away from Taylor's house. CBS News reports the Elliot Avenue home had been regarded as a "roadblock" in the plan. The legal team for Taylor's family also claims Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was desperate to see the project to fruition before his term ends in 2022. Furthermore, they say his other development agendas have been ineffective.
Police allegedly went to Taylor's home after being unable to find Glover and the other two suspects at the home on Elliott Avenue, WHAS11 reported. That's when they raided the house and killed the 26-year-old EMT who was sleeping with her boyfriend, as Blavity previously reported.
Detective Joshua Jaynes sought warrants to search several houses as police tried to find Glover on March 13, the Courier Journal reported. The targeted homes included Taylor's apartment, a suspected drug house in the Russell neighborhood, two vacant homes nearby on Elliott Avenue and a suspected stash house on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
According to the Courier Journal, Jaynes revealed in an affidavit that he targeted Taylor's home after seeing Glover leave her apartment in January with a USPS package. The detective said Glover drove to a "known drug house" after getting the package. However, U.S. postal inspector Tony Gooden said the Louisville Metro Police Department didn't use his office to verify that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor's apartment, WDRB reported.
Taylor's attorneys said Glover and the two other men who occupied the home on Elliott Avenue were not "Louisville versions of Pablo Escobar and Scarface" and that they were targeted because their home was in the way of a large real estate development deal.
"The execution of this search warrant robbed Breonna of her life and Tamika Palmer of her daughter," attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family, told the Courier Journal. "Its execution exhibited outrageous recklessness and willful, wanton, unprecedented and unlawful conduct."
A spokesperson for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer refuted the allegations.
"They are insulting to the neighborhood members of the Vision Russell initiative and all the people involved in the years of work being done to revitalize the neighborhoods of west Louisville," Jean Porter, the director of communications for Fischer's office, said in a statement. "The Mayor is absolutely committed to that work, as evidenced by the city’s work to support $1 billion in capital projects there over the past few years."
After police arrested Glover again on April 22, the city purchased the property on Elliott Avenue for $1 in June although it was valued at about $17,000, the Courier Journal reported. Taylor's attorneys said the city demolished eight homes on Elliott Avenue in a three-week span this year but only a total of nine homes were taken down on the same street in the past 16 years.
Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, the city's top economic development official, said the attorneys' allegations are “a gross mischaracterization of the project."
"The work along Elliott Ave is one small piece of the larger Russell neighborhood revitalization and stabilization work we’ve been doing for years, including the transformation of Beecher Terrace through Choice neighborhoods grants," Wiederwohl said in a statement. "We have partnered with a community organization to understand community needs and wants, and the public land bank has been acquiring properties through foreclosure, donation, and some sales; less than half the homes there are occupied."
Protesters around the country are still using their voices to demand justice for Taylor. Only one of the three officers who raided Taylor's apartment has been fired, as Blavity previously reported.