But with the results of a criminal investigation of those officers expected as soon as this week, Kentucky’s largest city is bracing for what may be the most explosive development yet in the high-profile fallout over Taylor’s death.
The city’s police leadership has declared “a state of emergency” and canceled all days off, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said he is prepared to deploy the National Guard to quell possible demonstrations. The news comes as six officers are reportedly under investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department for their role in the drug raid that led to Taylor’s death.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) is expected to announce whether the three officers who fired into Taylor’s apartment while executing a “no-knock” search warrant will be charged. He can bring a case to a grand jury, which could indict the officers, but Cameron has previously declined to discuss the specifics of a timeline.
Yet, following a summer of widespread protests of the police killings of Black people — from Minneapolis to Kenosha, Wis., and far beyond — his decision may be considered a litmus test for the accountability of law enforcement officials implicated in such incidents.
The March 13 raid on Taylor’s apartment in Louisville was connected to a drug investigation. Taylor had been linked to a man who was arrested on the same night, although her family has contested evidence put forth by police.
A young emergency room technician and aspiring nurse, Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 27, were asleep in her apartment when they heard someone coming in through the door.
Three White plainclothes officers — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — had entered on the no-knock warrant, the Courier-Journal reported. After Walker fired one gunshot, fearing the police were intruders, the officers responded with more than 20, including multiple that hit Taylor.
Her death drew scant attention at the national level until later that spring, when the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide demonstrations. Soon, Taylor’s face was on billboards, magazine covers and posters, morphing into a symbol of a movement that reached every major city in the country.
Almost every night since then, protesters in Louisville have taken to the streets demanding justice for Taylor. On several occasions, they have clashed with far-right groups.
Last week, the case again made headlines when Louisville announced a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family, amounting to one of the largest payouts for a police killing in U.S. history.
City officials also said they would make major changes, including requiring police officers to conduct extensive risk assessments before applying for warrants and asking commanders to approve all search warrant applications submitted to a judge.
But throughout the summer, many protesters, as well as Taylor’s family, have focused on criminal charges for the officers involved in the raid. Earlier this month, family attorney Benjamin Crump called on Cameron to charge them with second-degree manslaughter charges, at a minimum.
“To not have an indictment happen in this city is to say that no matter how much we pay, no matter how much reform we do, we’d rather pay, we’d rather cover it than to deal with the issue,” Tamika Mallory, co-founder of the social justice group Until Freedom, said at a news conference alongside Crump, according to the Courier-Journal.
Late on Monday, the newspaper broke the news that the city’s police department, while waiting for a decision from Cameron, canceled all days off and pending vacation requests until further notice. Officers will also work 12-hour shifts as part of an emergency response plan, with the city’s downtown federal courthouse closed, too.
According to an internal memo reviewed by the newspaper, the order is meant to “ensure we have the appropriate level of staffing to provide for public safety services and our policing functions.”
Also on Monday, the Courier-Journal reported that six officers were under an internal investigation by Louisville police for their role in the incident. The inquiry will examine whether the officers violated any police policies during the incident and could result in their firing — another call that has been put forth by demonstrators, especially if police are not charged.
The six officers being investigated include Cosgrove and Mattingly as well as Joshua Jaynes, who sought the warrant for Taylor’s apartment.
Given the attention surrounding the case, Beshear said he was prepared to deploy the state’s National Guard as well as state police to assist in the aftermath of the decision.
“If it is needed, we will authorize it,” the governor said at a news conference.
Beshear said Louisville officials made a “general request” for help from the state about a week ago. If they are deployed, National Guard troops and state officers would have limited roles outside the command of Louisville police, he added.
In June, National Guard members fatally shot David McAtee, who owned a small barbecue eatery in the city’s West End neighborhood. Police have said McAtee fired at them first.