The Department of Justice has announced federal charges against four former and current Louisville Metro Police Department officers related to the death of Breonna Taylor and violations of Kenneth Walker's constitutional rights. The charges include federal civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, obstruction offenses and use of excessive force.
The DOJ launched an official investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Department in April 2021 after state and local officials failed to thoroughly investigate the midnight raid of Taylor’s apartment, the killing of Ms. Taylor in that raid and the trauma inflicted on Mr. Walker, Ms. Taylor’s partner—including imprisoning and unfairly charging Mr. Walker with attempted murder as part of the effort to cover up gross police misconduct.
In March 2021, Munger, Tolles & Olson, in partnership with Professor Cliff Sloan of Georgetown University Law Center; Steven Romines of Romines Weiss and Young; and Frederick Moore, Abby Green and Phil Grossman of Grossman Green PLLC, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of Mr. Walker. In the lawsuit, Mr. Walker seeks damages for the LMPD officers’ fabrication of evidence to obtain a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s residence; their execution of the warrant in defiance of the Fourth Amendment “knock and announce” requirement; and their use of overwhelming and excessive force when Mr. Walker, a licensed gun owner, sought to defend himself and Ms. Taylor against who he reasonably thought were threatening intruders.
The DOJ’s indictments build on the allegations Mr. Walker’s legal team made in his Section 1983 complaint against the officers, and on the evidentiary work Munger, Tolles & Olson lawyers have done to develop the case.
"Last week’s news is bittersweet because regardless Bre isn’t coming back,” said Mr. Walker, who is also seeking relief in Kentucky state court for the assault and battery inflicted upon him after he witnessed the killing of Ms. Taylor, as well as his subsequent false arrest and malicious prosecution. “I want to thank the FBI and DOJ for believing me and for their honest commitment to justice. And I want to thank everyone who has been saying Breonna's name since the beginning and everyone who continues to say it as this fight continues.”
MTO partner and former U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli said, “Munger, Tolles & Olson is grateful that its hard work on behalf of Mr. Walker has been validated by the actions of the United States Department of Justice. The indictments, while not conclusive in themselves, leave no doubt about the seriousness of the civil claims we have brought against these defendants on the basis of the very same facts.”
In taking on this representation, Munger Tolles has continued its tradition of entrusting significant casework to its deep bench of associates. Ruby Garrett, a sixth-year associate, leads and manages the federal case.
“As our client aptly notes, neither the indictments nor the ongoing civil litigation will bring Ms. Breonna Taylor back,” said Ms. Garrett. “But both are necessary to ensure police accountability, strengthen police reform initiatives, and advance the nationwide conversation around issues of injustice in our criminal system. Brendan Gants and I are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to take such a substantive role in pursuing justice for Mr. Walker.”
The Munger, Tolles & Olson team is also led by Mr. Verrilli and partners Robyn Bacon and Jacob Kreilkamp.
Munger, Tolles & Olson has a long history of significant pro bono legal work and its representation of Mr. Walker aligns with its deep commitment to social justice. It also fits into the firm’s broader commitment to pro bono work on matters involving police misconduct and accountability, a focus of the firm’s Combating Systemic Racism Task Force, which was launched in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and seeks to address issues of systematic racism.
To read a statement published by co-counsel Grossman Green PLLC, click here.