A Tale Of Two Botched No-Knock Raids

Daniel Lobo via Flickr

In December 2019, the Louisville Metro Police Department formed a new unit called the Place-Based Investigations (PBI). The PBIs first task was to clean up Elliot Avenue which was reported to have a string of drug-related crimes. On January 2020, the PBI began investigating Adrian Walker and Jamarcus Glover. The latter was the ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor. The two men were purportedly involved in the distribution of narcotics. Taylor had an on-and-off relationship with Glover since 2016 and she was suspected of being involved.

An ominous warning and fabrications

Glover later revealed police pressured him into to moving out of Taylor’s residence for unspecified reasons. That revelation hints at the police foreshadowing what was to come i.e. the LMPD were alluding to the fact they would eventually carry out a raid on her apartment if Glover continued pursuing a relationship with Taylor. They even possibly knew of her innocence, otherwise, they wouldn’t have encouraged the separate if they believed both of them were involved in narcotics; it would make sense to capture both of them at the same time as to avoid one of them going on the lamb. Nevertheless, Taylor finally broke things off with Glover and fully committed to Kenneth Walker (no relation to Adrian Walker) by February 2020.

The LMPD obtained a warrant which was based on loose connections that Taylor still had with Glover including money she was holding on behalf of him and mail and packages Glover received. Police observed Glover leaving Taylor’s apartment with an unknown package, presumed to contain drugs, and took it to a known drug apartment. The warrant stated that the event was verified “through a US Postal Inspector”. In May 2020, the U.S. postal inspector in Louisville publicly announced that the collaboration had never actually occurred. The postal office revealed it was approached by a different agency to monitor packages going to Taylor’s apartment. But shortly after, the agency concluded, “There’s no packages of interest going there.”

But the botched raid left Breonna Taylor dead and Walker arrested.

But the State of Kentucky wasn’t convinced Taylor had no involvement. Even in death — with the operation clearly becoming more of a travesty in the opinion of the public and legal experts — the state offered Glover a plea deal to to name Taylor as a co-defendant, four months after she was killed.

Ultimately, it took months of internal investigations, hearings, conferences, protests, and other legal proceedings before the officers were fired. Three grand jurors came forward to say Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not allow the grand jury to consider homicide-related charges against the officers.

As it stands, Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fatally shot Taylor has been fired as well as Det. Joshua Jaynes, who sought the warrant. Last year, Det. Brett Hankinson was fired for misconduct on the night of Taylor’s murder. No charges have been filed.

Very different results in a similar case

A year prior to Taylor’s murder, the Houston Police Department would also carry out a botched no-knock raid.

On January 28 2019, the Pecan Park raid resulted in the deaths of a married couple, Dennis Wayne Tuttle and Rhogena Ann Nicholas and their dog after a gunfight erupted between Tuttle and police. Four officers were injured.

The HPD received information from an informant who was stated to have been the source of a complaint. Police found 18 grams of marijuana and 1.5 grams of white powder.

The events leading up to the raid painted Tuttle and Nicholas as drug kingpins. An initial complaint came from a mother alleging her daughter was “doing drugs” inside the home at 7815 Harding Street (Nicholas and Tuttle’s residence). Officers arrived but didn’t witness anything out of the ordinary. They stopped a passerby to inquire if she’d called 911. She didn’t, but — according to Police Chief Art Acevedo — the woman allegedly returned attention to her phone call and was heard saying, “Hey, the police are at the dope house.”

This was enough for HPD’s Squad 15 to begin an investigation. According to a sworn statement, a confidential informant was sent in for a pre-arranged drug buy and officials said the purchase turned up black tar heroin. However, records later showed that it was brown powder — a form of the illegal narcotic.

According to a court filing, the informant warned HPD of a “large quantity” of drugs on the premises which were packaged in plastic baggies as well as a 9mm handgun. The day after, on Jan. 28, a municipal court judge signed off on the warrant authorizing the no-knock raid.

Whatever the extent of involvement of drugs is besides the point — it was evident that police did find drugs on the property.

While Tuttle and Nicholas did not deserve to die over a minuscule amount of drugs; the investigations after were treated completely different than Breonna’s case. Relatives of the deceased filed the first document in a lawsuit against the municipal government in July 2019. In January 2020, Under Texas law, officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, were charged with tampering with government documents and the first with felony murder. And in July 2020, an additional 17 criminal counts were filed against six of the officers involved who were apart of a boarder conspiracy to steal overtime pay.

In a case where actual drugs were actually discovered after a no-knock raid; Houston demonstrated it was indeed possible to hold officers accountable for their actions.

Breonna Taylor has not received that same justice and she was not involved with drugs and none were discovered at her apartment. The media went out of its way to portray her and her Kenneth Walker as having ties to narcotics.

Will Breonna Taylor receive the justice she deserves after all this time?



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