Why were police at Breonna Taylor’s home? Here’s what an investigative summary says

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A detailed investigative report written more than a month after Louisville Metro Police fatally shot Breonna Taylor in her apartment on March 13 provides the first comprehensive look at the narcotics case that brought officers to her door.

Though police recovered no drugs or cash from the 26-year-old emergency room technician’s apartment in Louisville’s South End, the May 1 police report shows how officers linked Taylor to a narcotics investigation centered 10 miles away — largely through evidence that has since been challenged.

Why police targeted Taylor’s apartment for a “no-knock” search warrant after midnight has been a key question in the case since her shooting became a national rallying cry for racial justice in May.

After police used a battering ram to break open Taylor’s front door, her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired a single shot, which police said struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the femoral artery.

Mattingly, along with detective Myles Cosgrove and now-fired detective Brett Hankison, returned fire, killing Taylor.

Police had search warrant for Taylor’s address

Misinformation shared on social media suggested the officers showed up at the wrong house, but police had a search warrant signed by Circuit Judge Mary Shaw for Taylor’s address and for her.

The eight-page LMPD report reinforces, however, that Taylor was not the main target of the narcotics investigation, which initially centered around other individuals accused of selling drugs.

The report’s author was Detective Joshua Jaynes, who secured the March 12 warrant for Taylor’s home and four suspected drug houses.

The report also shows that LMPD’s new Place-Based Investigations Squad spent about 2½ months conducting heavy surveillance.

Taylor was linked to the suspects in that investigation, according to the report, because a car registered in her name stopped in early January at one of the properties being watched.

Moreover, it states that Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer and Taylor’s former boyfriend, picked up a package at her home Jan. 16 while police were watching him.

The report further says: 

  • It was Mattingly, the officer who was shot at Taylor’s apartment, who asked the postal service whether Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes wrote in a March 12 sworn affidavit for a search warrant that he had verified that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s home through a postal inspector (a Louisville postal inspector later told WDRB news that wasn’t true). 
  • Glover listed Taylor’s home as his address on a Chase bank account, and a search warrant for the account was executed on March 19, six days after her death. 
  • Glover listed Taylor’s phone number as his when he filed a complaint against a police officer in February for towing his red Dodge Charger for a parking violation.

Jaynes is on administrative reassignment pending an investigation of “how and why the search warrant was approved,” interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said in June.

The May 1 report was co-signed by Detective Kelly Goodlett, another Place-Based Investigations officer who also authored a controversial 39-page LMPD report written after Taylor’s death that detailed her ties with Glover, the main suspect in the narcotics case.

Glover told The Louisville Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, in an Aug. 26 interview that Taylor had nothing to do with illicit drugs. He also denied that Taylor had been holding money for him, despite telling a caller that she was during a taped phone conversation March 13 at Metro Corrections.

Police suspected, according to the May report written by Jaynes, that Glover “may be keeping narcotics and/or proceeds from the sale of narcotics at (Taylor’s apartment) for safekeeping.”

A property seizure log completed after searching Taylor’s apartment following the shooting listed no drugs or money.

The report also reflects that the investigation into suspected narcotics trafficking continued beyond the execution of search warrants and Taylor’s death on March 13. 

What happened after Breonna Taylor’s shooting?

After March 13, detectives watched pedestrian and vehicle traffic through the pole camera at Elliott Avenue, which they said indicated narcotics trafficking continued. 

“Although the traffic isn’t as heavy as it was before, it is apparent that these individuals are still selling narcotics from this location,” Jaynes wrote. 

Over the next few weeks, detectives conducted at least three traffic stops on vehicles leaving the Elliott Avenue home — once for failing to wear seat belts and another for an improper turn — and found drugs in the vehicles. 

One of those traffic stops prompted Goodlett to write an April 8 note to the city’s public nuisance and Metro 311 email accounts, documenting the property’s latest infraction — it’s “strike 3.”

City documents show that Goodlett and the Place-Based Initiative officers had worked closely with city Codes and Regulations Department personnel for months to keep tabs on the Elliott Avenue house.

On Jan. 22, the property owner, Law Mar Inc. and Gerald Happle, received its first notice of criminal activity “constituting a public nuisance.”

On March 17, following the March 13 warrants, the property was formally deemed a public nuisance.

Read this: What to know about the investigations into the police shooting of Breonna Taylor

Happle called the next day to ask about donating the house.

The city gave Happle an order to vacate the home on April 13. By then, Happle already had given his renters notice to leave the home and signed an application to donate the house to the city.

On April 22, detectives executed another no-knock search warrant on 2424 Elliott Ave. — the third in five months.

Police found crack cocaine, suspected ecstasy or MDMA, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia, Jaynes wrote. 

The same day, with the aid of the city’s Codes and Regulations Department, police cleared and boarded up 2424 Elliott Ave. 

On June 5 — what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday — Happle signed over the deed on the house. 

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