Amy Harris / Amy Harris / Invision / AP
A man charged with running a drug consortium was offered a plea in July when he named Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old black woman who was killed by police at her Louisville, Kentucky, home as a member of his alleged would call criminal gang. after the man’s lawyer.
Taylor was shot dead on March 13 by white Louisville Metro police officers who broke into her home one night with an arrest warrant. Her death has sparked national protests against police brutality.
The purpose of the raid on Taylor’s house was to find evidence linking her to an ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, a convicted criminal with a history of drug trafficking.
The police didn’t find any.
Now it appears prosecutors tried to tie Taylor to a life of crime after her death.
Glover was arrested the same night Taylor was killed in a separate raid on a suspected drug house about 10 miles away. Police say they gained “approximately 119.032 grams (4.2 ounces) of cocaine and over 10 unit doses of opiates,” according to court records.
Glover’s attorney Scott Barton told NPR that through lengthy negotiations, the Jefferson Commonwealth law firm had offered Glover a deal that included Taylor being named a member of its “organized crime syndicate.”
Barton said he no longer had a copy of the original plea, but that his client “immediately declined anything by name.”
“He felt awful about the whole thing. It’s no secret. And, you know, any kind of request she was in any way involved in would be unacceptable to him,” said Barton.
Glover could be imprisoned for up to a decade on charges brought after the search. It would be his third conviction for a crime.
A posthumous “co-defendant”
The proposed defense was first reported by WDRB-TV in Louisville.
The station said the July 13 plea listed Taylor as a “co-defendant” of Glover even though she had been dead for four months. The deal required Glover to acknowledge that he, Taylor, and others were implicated in organized crime by trafficking large quantities of drugs into “the Louisville community”.
If he had agreed, the broadcaster reported, Glover could have reduced his 10-year sentence to probation.
Barton said he and his client received a total of four or five offers of plea. “And it was the same result in either case,” he said.
“It wasn’t like there was any incentive to name Taylor,” explained Barton. “As if Glover put her name on there, we’d make you a better deal. It was the same offer regardless.”
However, in more than 20 years of experience, Barton said he has never seen a person posthumously identified as a co-defendant. He called it “very unique”.
“I’ve never come across it,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it normal.”
Prosecutors claim the opposition offer was only a “draft”
Commonwealth attorney Tom Wine said in a statement that the offer, which included Taylor’s name, was a “draft” and part of ongoing negotiations with Glover. He added that drafts are never part of the court record and are not court documents.
“They make offers and receive counter-offers,” Jeff Cooke, a spokesman for the Commonwealth Prosecutor’s Office, told NPR.
“That was only the first shot,” Cooke said, adding that the final plea for Glover and his attorney did not include Taylor as a co-defendant.
“We were aware of the information in the arrest warrants, as well as the prison phone calls that Mr. Glover involved Ms. Taylor in his criminal activities,” said Wine. “When I was informed of the discussions out of respect for Ms. Taylor, I instructed her to remove Ms. Breonna Taylor’s name.”
Cooke went one step further.
He admitted that the prosecutor, who identified Taylor as one of Glover’s several co-defendants, had gone too far. “It was a mistake,” he admitted.
“He’s got you wrong,” Cooke said, not naming the prosecutor. “He shouldn’t have said ‘co-defendant’. He should have a co-conspirator. That would have been more appropriate.”
Cooke said the office is not prosecuting anyone posthumously.
Like Barton, Cooke noted that all of the offers made to Glover included the same 10-year prison sentence, regardless of the mention of Taylor.
“Read these cops ***”
Sam Aguiar, the attorney representing the Taylor family on an unlawful death lawsuit, said the plea was an attempt by Jefferson Commonwealth attorney Tom Wine to tarnish the 26-year-old EMT’s reputation.
Taylor had no criminal record.
“Read these cops ****,” wrote Aguiar next to a screenshot of the document in a post on Facebook.
“Breonna Taylor is not a ‘co-defendant’ in any criminal case. She is dead,” he wrote. “Way to attack a woman when she’s not even here to defend herself.”
“This shows how desperate Tom Wine … is,” wrote Aguiar, “to justify the unlawful search of Breonna Taylor’s house, murder and arrest.” [her boyfriend] Kenneth Walker. “
Walker was with Taylor, the night officers entered the apartment with guns drawn in search of drugs and money. Walker, appalled by the loud crash and chaos, grabbed his licensed weapon and fired, allegedly hitting an officer in the leg.
That shot triggered the volley of bullets that killed Taylor.
At the end of the violent night, Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. But the charges were eventually dropped.
Walker announced on Tuesday that he is suing the City of Louisville, the Louisville Metro Police Department, and others to prevent future prosecutions under Kentucky’s “stand your ground” law.
“I was raised by a good family. I am a legal gun owner and would never knowingly shoot a police officer,” he said at a press conference.
Additionally, Walker’s attorney Steve Romines relentlessly denies police claims that the 27-year-old fired the shot that wounded the police officer.
Romines noted that there were two separate shots, more than a minute apart, and that officer Jonathan Mattingly was said to have been wounded after the second volley.
“And yet the police have maintained all along [Walker’s] One shot somehow hit Officer Mattingly. We absolutely do not admit that fact, “he said.
“We think it is much more likely that one of the 35 to 45 shots fired by the LMPD hit Officer Mattingly,” said Romines.
Romines said they are waiting for a ballistics report.
Walker is also seeking compensation, in part “for the trauma, humiliation, outrage, physical pain, emotional distress, or anguish he has endured,” according to the complaint.