On Friday, one of the officers involved in shooting 26-year-old Breonna Taylor announced that he has filed a lawsuit against her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. According to the civil suit, Louisville Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly claims he experienced "severe trauma, mental anguish, and emotional distress" because of Walker. Mattingly is suing for emotional stress, assault, and battery on the night Taylor was killed; he is now seeking a jury trial, damages, and attorney fees, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.
The night Taylor was killed, Mattingly, along with two other armed detectives and officers, entered her apartment with a warrant to allegedly carry out a drug investigation. Assuming they were intruders, Walker, who’s a licensed gun owner, fired one round when he saw the door burst in, hitting Mattingly in the leg. The officers opened fire, shooting and killing Taylor before arresting Walker.
"Walker's conduct in shooting Mattingly is outrageous, intolerable, and offends all accepted standards of decency and morality," Mattingly’s lawsuit states. "Mattingly was shot and nearly killed by Kenneth Walker. He's entitled to, and should, use the legal process to seek a remedy for the injury that Walker has caused him," his attorney, Kent Wicker, said in a statement to the Louisville Courier Journal.
Mattingly’s lawsuit is a counterclaim to the lawsuit Walker filed earlier this year against the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, Mayor Greg Fischer, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and others. According to CBS News, Walker's attorney, Steve Romines, says Mattingly's lawsuit is a "baseless attempt to further victimise and harass Kenny." Walker is currently seeking immunity from prosecution, and has claimed Kentucky's "stand your ground" law, noting that he was protecting himself in his own home.
“This is the latest in a cycle of police aggression, deflection of responsibility and obstruction of the facts,” says Romines. “If Kenny can be sued for defending himself, make no mistake, all lawful gun owners' rights are at risk. And that should scare everyone. We intend to defend Kenny — once again — from baseless charges intended to harm, intimidate and cover up the events of March 13, 2020."
Though Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer, the charges were ultimately dropped. At a September press conference about his own lawsuit, Walker said, "I am a legal gun owner, and I would never knowingly shoot a police officer. Breonna and I did not know who was banging at the door, but police know what they did.”
Mattingly’s lawsuit also comes in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s heartbreaking grand jury decision, in which no officers were indicted for killing her. Only one of the three officers who killed Taylor was indicted, but the charge against former officer Brett Hankison was for first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into and disturbing other apartments surrounding Taylor’s — not for shooting Taylor.
“I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” Mattingly wrote in an email in September, later saying, “good guys are demonised, and criminals are canonised.”
Now, as the case wears on, her family and loved ones, including Walker, are still seeking justice — and protests and actions continue to be held in her honour.