F.B.I. to Investigate Shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Police

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/us/fbi-louisville-shooting.html

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday that it had opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a black woman by three white police officers in Louisville, Ky., in March.

“The F.B.I. will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the Louisville field office of the F.B.I. said in a statement.

The announcement about the F.B.I. investigation was the latest development in a case that has drawn nationwide attention.

Louisville police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor, 26, after midnight on March 13 at her home during a narcotics investigation. Officers knocked on the door several times and announced their presence, before forcing their way into the home, the Louisville police said. They were immediately met by gunfire, and Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend shot an officer in the leg, the police said.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that the police had been targeting two men who they believed were selling drugs out of a house more than 10 miles from Ms. Taylor’s apartment. However, a judge had signed a warrant allowing officers to search Ms. Taylor’s home — and to enter without warning — in part because a detective said one of the men had used Ms. Taylor’s apartment to receive a package.

In a separate announcement on Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville said that Chief Steve Conrad of the Louisville Metro Police Department would retire at the end of June.

Mr. Fischer said at a news conference that in response to Ms. Taylor’s shooting, “no knock” search warrants, like the one issued in this case, would require approval from the police chief or someone he designates before being sent to a judge for approval.

“This is a step,” Mr. Fischer said, “but we know there needs to be more conversation on the use of these warrants.”

Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a lawsuit in late April against three officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department, accusing them of wrongfully causing her daughter’s death.

One of the lawyers representing Ms. Palmer is Benjamin Crump, who is among the lawyers representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, whose shooting death in Georgia in February led to murder charges against two men last week.

In a statement, Mr. Crump said Chief Conrad’s resignation was “a significant step forward in getting justice for Breonna Taylor, her family, and the city of Louisville.”

“We look forward to further investigation, including by the F.B.I., into the chain of events that led to Breonna’s tragic and preventable death,” he said. “It is our expectation that the next chief of police will be someone who wears the badge with honor, moves the Police Department forward, and nobly protects and serves the residents of Louisville.”

Last week, Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky called reports about Ms. Taylor’s death “troubling” and said the public deserved to know everything about the March raid.

He asked the state attorney general, the local prosecutor and the federal prosecutor assigned to the region to review the results of the Louisville police’s initial investigation “to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind.”

The F.B.I. declined to comment further on its investigation, and the Louisville police declined to comment on the case, citing the lawsuit and the local and federal investigations.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.