CBS This Morning’s Gayle King will host a one-hour BET News special, "Say Her Name: The Untold Story of Breonna Taylor," with more details around her exclusive interview with Breonna Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police after they burst into the couple’s apartment in March, has remembered her as his “best friend” and insisted that police never identified themselves when they came to their door.
“To the world, she’s just a hashtag, a picture and all of that, but to me it’s much more,” Walker told CBS News’ Gayle King in his first television interview. “More than a girlfriend, too. I think that’s what I want the world to know the most. That was my best friend, the most important person pretty much to me on the Earth, and they took her.”
A segment of the interview was broadcast on CBS This Morning on Wednesday (Oct. 14), where Walker said that the day Taylor was killed, nothing out of the ordinary took place. “It was just chilling and being us,” he said. They’d gone on a date, went to eat and returned home to watch a movie.Then suddenly, as they slept in bed, there was what he described as a “loud bang” at the door and he said that they both asked who it was several times but nobody responded.
Last month, a grand jury declined to indict the three officers connected with Taylor’s death, Det. Brett Hankison (who was fired in June), Det. Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. In a recording of grand jury testimony, Det. Michael Nobles said in an internal investigation interview that he knocked on the door for two minutes before the decision was made to burst in.
Walker says that couldn’t be true because if someone were at the door, they would clearly have been heard. “If they knocked on the door and said who it was, we could hear them,” said Walker. “I’m a million percent sure nobody identified themselves.”
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The heavy knocking persisted and at that point, Walker said he and Taylor got up, put on clothes and went to answer the door. As a registered gun owner, he also picked up his weapon concerned that he would need to protect his girlfriend.
“If it was the police at the door and they just said ‘we’re the police,’ me or Breonna didn’t have a reason at all not to open the door and see what they wanted.”
Walker said that, believing it was intruders, he let off one shot as a warning. But that shot struck Hankison. The officers then opened a barrage of gunfire, striking Taylor five times and killing her. “I don’t think I ever heard so many gunshots all at the same time,” Walker remembered. “I’ve never been to war, but I assume that’s what war sounds like.”
The entire time, Walker says, he was holding Taylor’s hand. He tried to pull her to the ground, but she was struck before he could do that. Still not realizing it was the police who killed his girlfriend, he called his mother and described what happened, then called 911. He called Taylor’s mother after making the 911 call, he said.
“I don’t know what is happening, somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” a distraught Walker said in the 911 call.”
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During this fracas, although it was officers that were at the scene, they did not rush into the apartment. “I don’t think I realized it was the police until I was on the phone with Breonna’s mom. I hear people outside talking. I thought they was [sic] coming for help because I called 911. So when I come outside there’s guns pointed at me, I’m being threatened with dogs and whatever else.”
Bodycam footage shows officers putting Walker in an arrest position, while he is still confused about what’s going on. An officer asked him if he was struck by any bullets. “I said no, [the officer] said ‘that’s unfortunate.’ So that threw me off, too. I’m like, what’s he mean by that.”
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While being put into a squad car, he protests, “we were scared, we didn’t know who it was.” He said he was dragged down the street in his bare feet, still confused. But when he was taken from the scene, Walker said another officer came up to the car he was in and explained that it was a “misunderstanding,” indicating they knew initially they killed an innocent person. At the police station, his handcuffs were removed and he was allowed to walk around. Further bodycam footage confirms this.
“So, clearly they know something’s wrong,” Walker said. “You don’t allegedly shoot a police officer and they take the handcuffs off you.”
Walker was charged with attempted murder for firing the shot at police, but those charges have since been dropped.
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Louisville police had been serving a “no knock” warrant at the apartment, searching for Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover. However, Glover had already been taken into custody earlier in the day on drug charges. The only charge any of the officers faced was “wanton endangerment” when one of the bullets fired entered a neighboring apartment.
Walker said that if he had not survived, the story being put forth about his girlfriend’s killing would likely be different.
“There wouldn’t be a story,” he said. “You probably wouldn’t even know about it. If I didn’t live, you probably wouldn’t even know about Breonna Taylor...or Kenny Walker.”
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Photo: Screengrab/CBS News