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Judge to decide whether to dismiss civil lawsuit filed by Kenneth Walker following oral arguments

A judge heard oral arguments Tuesday after Louisville Metro government and LMPD officers filed motions asking the judge to dismiss Kenneth Walker's lawsuit.
Credit: WHAS-TV
Kenneth Walker III

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After hearing oral arguments Tuesday a judge will decide whether to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by Breonna Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. It comes after Louisville Metro government and LMPD officers filed motions trying to get a judge to dismiss the case. 

"We view this complaint as a vain effort to circumvent centuries of law on the question sovereign immunity," assistant Jefferson County Attorney Peter Ervin said. 

Walker filed the lawsuit in September and said his rights were violated the night Taylor was killed by Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) officers serving a warrant at her apartment. He said he was wrongfully arrested, detained, charged and prosecuted.

Two of the defendants are former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Mayor Greg Fischer. Walker’s attorneys argue their negligence in training and supervising played a role.

"The plaintiffs acknowledge that there’s no respondent superior liability in Kentucky for individual officers, but they failed to state the claim against these two – the mayor and Chief Conrad," Ervin said. "They failed to allege any cause of connection between any allege breach of duty and any allege injury."

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove are also listed on the lawsuit. They are two of the three officers who fired shots the night Taylor was killed. Their attorney Kent Wicker argues the lawsuit is not about what happened before the shooting, which is why they want it dismissed.

"Detective Cosgrove is mentioned only one time in the complaint in paragraph 40 where it said he didn't leave the scene as he should have, but it doesn't accuse of him of doing anything because of the plaintiff's injury and it doesn't mention him again," Wicker said.

The attorney for Detective Joshua Jaynes, who obtained the search warrant that led to Taylor's death, argued Jaynes wasn't there when the shooting happened because he was at the Elliott Avenue location.

The defendants said because of qualified immunity the case should be dismissed.

"Dismissal before summary judgement is not appropriate on the defense of qualified official immunity," attorney for Walker, Jamie Neal said. "It depends on factual determinations first whether the defendant’s actions were ministerial or discretionary.”

Walker's attorneys argued there are still many unknowns.

"We don't have a full and complete picture on what happened on March 13, 2020," attorney for Walker, Kevin Burke said. "It's inappropriate for these motions to be filed in the first place and then to assume that we are to take the defendants' representation themselves as truth and only a half picture at that –  as the proverb says a half truth is a whole lie."

The judge will review the motions and arguments and issue a ruling "as soon as possible."

Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at SGebregior@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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