AN UNARMED 26-year-old emergency medical technician (EMT) was shot and killed by police in the US raiding the wrong address, according to a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family.
Plain clothed officers driving unmarked vehicles entered Breonna Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13 before opening fire in an exchange in which she was shot eight times.
Police were executing a search warrant on the property at the time as part of a larger drugs investigation but no narcotics were found at the scene of the shooting.
Ms Taylor’s family have filed a lawsuit accusing the police of wrongful death and excessive force.
The lawsuit says the officers entered the apartment looking for an unrelated suspect who was not only already in custody but lived in an entirely different building complex.
Neither Ms Taylor nor her partner, Kenneth Walker, were the subject of the warrant.
Louisville police said they returned fire on Mr Walker and Ms Taylor after one officer was shot and wounded.
#BreonnaTaylor should be alive right now. Yet here we are, the loss of another innocent, young Black woman. Another beautiful life lost! Louisville Police, your officers need to be held accountable. #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor #JusticeForBre #SayHerName pic.twitter.com/IX7iyeRXbK
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) May 13, 2020
They also claim officers knocked on the 26-year-old's door several times and made sure to announce themselves as police officers before entering her apartment.
However, a lawyer representing Mr Walker says he fired at the officers using a legally purchased gun in self-defence because they did not identify themselves and he feared they were breaking into their home.
According to the lawsuit, more than 20 rounds of ammunition were expelled by police at the property.
"The defendants then proceeded to spray gunfire into the residence with a total disregard for the value of human life," the lawsuit alleges.
"Shots were blindly fired by the officers all throughout Breonna's home."
"Breonna had posed no threat to the officers and did nothing to deserve to die at their hands," the legal document adds
"Shots were blindly fired by the officers all throughout Breonna's home," it added.
We stand w/ @AttorneyCrump & the Taylor family in demanding answers & calling for a swift independent investigation of the Louisville Metro PD. We call on Louisville local leadership to intervene, fire, arrest, & charge those involved. Visit https://t.co/BA2kMRQoEW #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/gFyVVhVEs5
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 12, 2020
A spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Police Department said: "Due to an ongoing internal investigation into this situation, we are not able to comment at this time."
Prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who recently represented the family of Ahmaud Arbery, has been hired by Ms Taylor’s family.
Arbery was shot and killed by Gregory McMichael, a former police officer, and his son Travis McMichael as he jogged, unarmed, down a residential neighbourhood in Brunswick on February 23 this year.
Crump has described Taylor's death a "senseless killing."
"We stand with the family of this young woman in demanding answers from the Louisville Police Department," he said in a statement.