The FBI said Thursday that it had opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a Black woman by three white police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the Louisville field office of the FBI. said in a statement.
The announcement about the FBI investigation was the latest development in a case that has drawn nationwide attention.
Louisville police officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor, 26, after midnight March 13 at her home during a narcotics investigation. Officers knocked on the door several times and announced their presence, before forcing their way into the home, the Louisville police said. They were immediately met by gunfire, and Taylor’s boyfriend shot an officer in the leg, the police said.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that the police had been targeting two men who they believed were selling drugs out of a house more than 10 miles from Taylor’s apartment. However, a judge had signed a warrant allowing officers to search Taylor’s home — and to enter without warning — in part because a detective said one of the men had used Taylor’s apartment to receive a package.
In a separate announcement Thursday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that Chief Steve Conrad of the Louisville Metro Police Department would retire at the end of June.
Fischer said at a news conference that in response to Taylor’s shooting, “no knock” search warrants, like the one issued in this case, would require approval from the police chief or someone he designates before being sent to a judge for approval.
“This is a step,” Fischer said, “but we know there needs to be more conversation on the use of these warrants.”
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a lawsuit in late April against three officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department, accusing them of wrongfully causing her daughter’s death.
One of the lawyers representing Palmer is Benjamin Crump, who is among the lawyers representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, whose shooting death in Georgia in February led to murder charges against two men last week.
In a statement, Crump said Conrad’s resignation was “a significant step forward in getting justice for Breonna Taylor, her family, and the city of Louisville.”
“We look forward to further investigation, including by the FBI, into the chain of events that led to Breonna’s tragic and preventable death,” he said. “It is our expectation that the next chief of police will be someone who wears the badge with honor, moves the Police Department forward, and nobly protects and serves the residents of Louisville.”
Last week, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called reports about Taylor’s death “troubling” and said the public deserved to know everything about the March raid.
He asked the state attorney general, the local prosecutor and the federal prosecutor assigned to the region to review the results of the Louisville police’s initial investigation “to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind.”
The FBI declined to comment further on its investigation, and the Louisville police declined to comment on the case, citing the lawsuit and the local and federal investigations.