A Black Man Defends Himself With a Gun and Police Shoot His Girlfriend. Why Arent Gun Owners Speaking Up?

width=500Kenneth Walker is a black man who shot at police officers at 1 a.m. on March 13 when they attempted to serve a search warrant on his girlfriend Breonna Taylor. He injured one Sgt. John Mattingly the first officer to enter the apartment. The officers shot back killing Taylor reportedly hitting her eight times. Walker maintains he shot in self-defense because he didnt realize that it was the police banging on the door. The police werent even looking for Walker and Taylor. They were looking for a man Taylor knew. They believed he used her apartment to stash drugs or money. According to the politics reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal the warrant was based on police seeing the suspect leave her home once several months ago.  The police didnt find anything.

The Raid and the Shooting

A grand jury indicted Walker for attempted murder. Tom Wine the Commonwealth Attorney handling the case held a long press conference earlier this month. He spent most of the time rebutting claims that the police had entered the apartment without knocking. Wine also explained why he asked the judge overseeing the case to dismiss the charges. He claimed that the prosecutor and police had not misled the grand jury. However he admitted that the grand jury should have been given more information specifically Walkers testimony to the police.
The DA said he changed his mind about the case after more information came out and he looked into the case personally.
According to Wine several officers said they knocked on the door three or more times. No one came to the door. After that they used the battering ram three times to break down the door. Wine played clips from Walkers interview and the interview with Sgt. John Mattingly the wounded police officer. Walker waived his right to an attorney. Walker said the knocks woke up him and Taylor. She yelled Who is it?" No one responded. Then another knock at the door. She yelled the same thing at the top of her lungs." Again no response. She yelled again. They put on their clothes he got his gun and they walked into the hallway. He saw the door comes off the hinges but he couldnt see who was coming in. He shot a warning shot aiming down. The police shot back multiple times. Mattingly admitted his team of officers didnt announce themselves the first couple of times they knocked which was about 6 or 7 times over 45 seconds or a minute. Then they started yelling Police! Search warrant!" Finally they  rammed the door. Mattingly said he went into the living room looked down the hallway and saw the two. The man had a gun and shot him hitting him in the leg. He shot back four times. He fell back and then fired two more rounds reaching around the door.

Stand-Your-Ground Laws vs. No-Knock Warrants

Wine admitted during the press conference that there can be friction between stand-your-ground laws and no-knock warrants. He says the city is  considering eliminating no-knock warrants in drug cases. There is no amount of cocaine heroin marijuana any drugs any money … is worth the life of a human being whether its a civilian like Breonna Taylor or police officer" Wine said. Louisvilles mayor has said that the chief of police should sign off on requests for no-knock warrants before theyre presented to a judge. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) denounced them telling the Courier-Journal No one should lose their life in pursuit of a crime without a victim and no-knock warrants should be forbidden." Paul has previously expressed his concern that the police are becoming militarized. In an op-ed for Time in 2014 after the Michael Brown shooting he wrote There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response."
This case appears to come down to mostly one thing: Did Walker hear the police announce themselves when they knocked on the door?
This case comes down to one question: Did Walker hear the police announce themselves when they knocked on the door? He says he didnt and thought it was someone trying to break in. He mentions Taylors former boyfriend as a possible threat. Wine said at the end of the press conference Whether or not you believe Mr. Walker heard the police is totally dependent on Mr. Walkers credibility." Walker also said he had no reason to pick a fight with the police. He and his girlfriend had no criminal records. He was a legal gun owner so it didnt make sense for him to shoot if he knew they were police officers. According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association Kentuckys stand-your-ground laws mean that A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat." That person
has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another. … Any person who uses a gun in self-defense has immunity from criminal and civil law.

What About the NRA

Many people on social media have demanded to know why gun rights supporters like the NRA havent come out in support of Walker. Liberal writers claimed the reason was racism. Washington Post writer Radley Balko tweeted Gun rights groups should be all over this no? A registered gun owner defended his home from armed invaders. In return the police killed his girlfriend then arrested him." In a follow up tweet he said: Cant imagine a more profound violation of the right to keep and bear arms. Walker defended himself from armed men who broke into his home and killed his girlfriend. For that he was arrested. Yet the NRA has said what they always say after these raids: Not a damn thing." But maybe they havent spoken up because its taken awhile to get all the facts out; some of the reporting has been inaccurate and most people arent going to take the time to watch Wines 41-minute press conference. Not to mention the awkwardness of defending a shooting that triggered the death of Walkers girlfriend. Some people believe the only reason Wine dropped the charges is because of the public outcry not because he believed Walker. The FBI and attorney general are now investigating the incident. There is no indication that charges will be filed against the police officers. Taylors family has filed a lawsuit which says the suspect who police were looking for was already in custody. Attorney Benjamin Crump is representing them. He has represented the families of other high-profile black shooting victims including Ahmed Arbery and Trayvon Martin.
  Rachel Alexander is a senior editor of The Stream. Follow her on Twitter at Rach_IC. Follow The Stream at streamdotorg. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.
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