The Biden administration’s Justice Department remains committed to looking at “every possible civil rights violation that could have happened that led to the death of Breonna Taylor,” more than two years after the controversial shooting, according to famed attorney Ben Crump.
Crump and Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, met with representatives of the Department of Justice on Monday, more than 700 days after Taylor died in crossfire between police officers and Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. “They affirm that they are looking under every stone” for possible rights violations in the case.
Rumors swirled after the March 2020 shootout, which took place as members of the Louisville Metro Police Department served a warrant at Taylor’s apartment due to her alleged connection to a suspected drug dealer. Many of those tales were spread by Crump, according to one of the officers involved in the raid, retired LMPD Sgt. John Mattingly.
Crump fits the model of a “grimy defense attorney,” who “seems to sniff out the national stories that can make him a buck, get some screen time, and gain him more notoriety,” Mattingly writes in his new book, “12 Seconds In The Dark: A Police Officer’s Firsthand Account of the Breonna Taylor Raid.” He “gets on TV like a televangelist and piggybacks the tragedies these families are going through.” Mattingly says the Taylor case was no exception. “Crump made his usual rounds on national television making false and slanderous allegations about the events of March 13 and the officers involved.”
He started the false narrative that Breonna Taylor was asleep in her bed when she was killed. He said we didn’t knock or announce and in fact he claimed we changed our story from no-knock to knock and announce to fit our narrative. He claimed they called 911 as we were busting the door down, which is an absolute lie. … He said we were in plain clothes, which is true, but it’s misguided because he leaves out the fact we were clearly identified as POLICE with raid vests. Crump claimed we were at the wrong house and the suspect we were looking for was already in custody: 100 percent lies.
“Crump is very good at tying tragedies and injustices together to skew the narrative and hype up a crowd,” Mattingly concluded.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron similarly blasted Crump’s sensationalist manner after the grand jury dismissed charges against every police officer involved in the shooting, except wanton endangerment charges against Brett Hankinson, on September 23, 2020.
“This is the Ben Crump model,” Cameron said. “He goes into a city, creates a narrative, cherry-picks facts to establish, to prove that narrative, creates chaos in a community, misrepresents the facts, and then he leaves with his money, and then asks the community to pick up the pieces. It is terribly offensive on his part to push such narratives, such falsehoods.”
A jury of his peers found Hankinson not guilty of wanton endangerment earlier this month, returning a verdict in just three hours. Hankinson testified that when he heard gunshots fired in the apartment, he believed Walker was executing his fellow officers.
But Crump says he has found a receptive audience in the Biden administration. “We got an affirmation that the Department of Justice is not swayed with what happens with state charges,” Crump told the media.
At a joint press conference, Tamika Palmer said, “The most important thing is to remember that Breonna didn’t deserve this.” Mattingly, who expresses deep compassion for Taylor’s family in his book, agrees that Taylor did not deserve her fate, but he blames her boyfriend, Walker, for opening fire unprovoked, then leaving his girlfriend alone as police returned fire while he dove into an adjacent bedroom like a “coward.”