The claim: The ‘truth’ about Breonna Taylor’s background and alleged ties to drug trafficking have not been reported.
Several social media posts have posted the “truth” about Breonna Taylor, who was shot during a police raid on her Louisville apartment in March.
A meme posted June 25 on Brandon Tatum’s @TheOfficerTatum Instagram account was widely shared across social media after the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday announced it would bring charges against one of three officers involved in Taylor’s death — but not for charges directly related to her killing. The meme, which has over 69,000 likes, was reposted on Facebook by Conservative Hangout, where it has more than 3,500 shares, and Peggy Hubbard, who has 23,000 shares, among others.
USA TODAY has reached out to Tatum for comment.
That meme, along with other similar social media posts, lay out several assertions about Taylor and her background.
We’ll assess the truth told in each claim.
Claim: ‘She wasn’t an EMT, she was terminated in 2017’
Taylor was a 26-year-old emergency room technician at two local hospitals. She joined the city as an EMT recruit in January 2016, became a full EMT by June and left the Louisville Metro Government in November 2016.
According to WAVE 3 News, city documents show that Taylor had called in November and resigned. A termination form also has a box checked stating do not rehire. But, it does not state a reason why that box was checked, WAVE reported.
The state licensure agency said Taylor’s EMT license was never suspended, and there is no disciplinary action in her file.
Local attorneys for Taylor’s family have clarified that she was working as an ER technician at two area hospitals at the time of her March 13 death, with aspirations of becoming a nurse, according to The (Louisville) Courier Journal.
Ruling: PARTLY FALSE. It is false that she was fired. While her EMT license was current, it is true that she wasn’t an EMT at the time of her death.
Claim: ‘She was knee deep in criminal/drug dealing activities with her ex-boyfriend’
Taylor, who has no drug offenses on her record, shared her apartment with her younger sister, Juniyah Palmer. Neither Taylor nor Palmer has any history of drug offenses.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, did not live in the apartment, according to the address listed on his arrest citation. He also has no history of drug offenses, and Walker was not named in the search warrant.
The search warrant for Taylor’s home includes her street address, apartment number and photos of her apartment door, which police later broke using a battering ram.
In addition to listing Taylor’s name, birth date and Social Security number, the warrant included the names of the narcotics investigation’s main targets: Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, and Adrian Walker. Kenneth Walker and Adrian Walker are not related.
In January, Glover, who had past drug trafficking convictions in Mississippi, was among three men charged with trafficking and weapons offenses after police received a tip from a confidential informant that they were hiding drugs and firearms in abandoned homes adjacent to a “trap house” they allegedly operated at an Elliott Avenue address in Louisville. Police seized five handguns and three rifles, according to evidence filed in the case.
Glover, who was out on bail from earlier charges, was arrested at the house in a simultaneous raid the night of the Taylor killing on March 13.
According to, Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s estate, Glover and Taylor had dated two years earlier and maintained a “passive” relationship. Records and recorded jail calls since January show they had remained in contact. Glover said in a March 13 call, however, that he didn’t have “nothing going on with Bre no more.” In an email to The Courier Journal, Aguiar apologized to “the public and to Breonna’s family” for mischaracterizing the relationship, saying it was based on an erroneous conclusion he drew without the benefit of the jail recording.
According to the affidavit Louisville Metro Police Detective Joshua Jaynes wrote for the search warrant, Glover used Taylor’s apartment as his home address. Jaynes also wrote that he “verified through a U.S. postal inspector that Glover has been receiving packages” at Taylor’s apartment.
The Courier Journal reported May 12 that a sworn affidavit from Jaynes said Glover was seen walking into Taylor’s apartment one January afternoon and left with a “suspected USPS package in his right hand” then drove to a “known drug house” on Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
But Louisville’s U.S. postal inspector, Tony Gooden, told WDRB News in May that a different agency (which he did not identify) had asked in January to look into whether Taylor’s home was receiving suspicious mail. The office had concluded that it wasn’t, Gooden said.
Glover has since told the Courier Journal and USA TODAY that Taylor had no involvement in drug trafficking. Glover said he only had clothes and shoes sent to Taylor’s apartment because he was afraid they would be stolen if they were left at his home.
The police report reviewed by the Courier Journal goes beyond the information in the affidavit, detailing evidence into police surveillance of Taylor and Glover, as well as the recorded phone conversations from the jail involving Glover and Taylor.
The Courier Journal reviewed the undated report on Taylor compiled by the LMPD’s new Place-Based Investigations unit, which targets violent crime at specific locations, as part of its investigation of Glover. The Courier Journal also reviewed transcripts of jailhouse calls Glover and other defendants made from Metro Corrections.
Glover made a call from jail about 12 hours after he was arrested March 13 at 2424 Elliott Ave. — the same day Taylor was shot and killed by police executing a search warrant at her apartment signed by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw.
Our ruling: FALSE. While Taylor and Glover had a “passive” relationship, she was not “knee deep” in drug dealing with him.
Claim: ‘She was on jailhouse recordings running drugs for her ex-boyfriend’
On Jan. 3, following Glover’s arrest on trafficking and weapons charges, he called Taylor from jail and asked her to contact one of his co-defendants to get bail money.
Taylor responded. according to recordings reviewed by the Courier Journal, that the associate was “already at the trap” — slang for a house used for drug trafficking,
Glover told her to be on standby to pick him up if he made bail. “I’m going to get
me some rest in your bed,” he said, according to the recording.
“Love you,” he said, at the end of the call.
“Love you, too,” she replied.
Video: Kentucky grand jury indicts 1 officer in Breonna Taylor case, not for her death
The Courier Journal has corroborated that on Dec. 30, 2019, five days before her recorded jail conversation with Glover, Taylor posted a $2,500 bond for another man charged in the same case, 34-year-old Darreal Forest. His attorney, Casey McCall, did not immediately respond to a question about how his client knew Taylor.
Police had seized five handguns and three rifles, according to evidence filed in the case.
The jail recordings the Courier Journal reviewed show that on March 13, Glover, while trying to round up cash to make bail on a new set of trafficking charges, called a girlfriend and told her Taylor had his money.
“She had the eight grand I gave her the other day, and she picked up another six,” Glover said.
“Did she tell you where it was?” the caller asked him.
“She didn’t have the chance to tell me nothing,” he replied. “She dead.”
When the caller asked Glover why he had left the money with Taylor, he said: “Don’t take it wrong but Bre been handling all my money. She has been handling (expletive) for me and … it ain’t just me.”
But in a different recorded phone call from the jail on March 13, Demarius Bowman, who was arrested with Glover, told his sister that another woman, Alicia “Kesha” Jones, 24, had been given the group’s money.
“We put all the money on Kesha,” said Bowman, also 24. “We dumped everything on her.”
Jones was holding $3,413 in cash when she was arrested earlier following the search at a suspected drug house on Elliott Avenue, according to police records.
Jones, Glover and Bowman, along with three other defendants — Rayshawn Lee, 33; Anthony J. Taylor II, 31; and Adrian Walker, 28 — are charged with complicity in trafficking in a controlled substance and running an organized crime syndicate.
They have all pleaded not guilty.
Video: Breonna Taylor’s mom says, ‘the system as a whole has failed her’
As mentioned in the claim above, Glover has since told The Courier Journal and USA TODAY that Taylor had no involvement in drug trafficking. Records previously examined by The Courier Journal show no money or drugs were found in the search of Taylor’s apartment after her death.
And nothing in the recordings or other evidence recently obtained by The Courier Journal substantiates Glover’s claim that Taylor was handling money for him.
Our ruling: FALSE. Nothing in recordings from jail indicates Taylor was running drugs for Glover.
Claim: Taylor was ‘under surveillance for months running drugs’
Records obtained by The Courier Journal show the search warrant, signed by a judge one day before Taylor’s death, includes Taylor’s address based on LMPD’s belief that Glover, one of the main narcotics investigation suspects, used her home to receive mail, keep drugs or stash money earned from the sale of drugs.
The undated LMPD report examined by The Courier Journal includes the results of a tracking device placed on Glover’s Dodge Charger that shows it was driven to Taylor’s apartment six times in January.
The report includes photographs of Glover entering and exiting Taylor’s building. In the application for the search warrant of Taylor’s apartment, police said they suspected drugs and money were being held at the residence.
Video: Biden pleads for ‘no violence’ as protests continue after Breonna Taylor decision
In an interview with The Courier Journal and USA TODAY, Glover noted that LMPD had a surveillance camera outside of 2424 Elliott Ave., so he said police could see that Taylor wasn’t doing anything illegal when she came over.
“We’re literally standing outside,” Glover said in the interview. “They had their camera. … They seen everything. No illegal activity. A hug is not illegal. … She’s not bringing me no boxes, she’s not bringing nothing.”
Our ruling: FALSE. The report notes that Taylor’s house was under surveillance, but does not find Taylor was “running drugs.”
Claim: Taylor ‘was on the warrant, as was her car and her apartment’
The search warrant for Taylor’s home includes her street address, apartment number and photos of her apartment door, which police later broke using a battering ram, and her car.
Taylor’s name, birth date and Social Security number are listed on the warrant, alongside the names of the narcotics investigation’s main targets, Jamarcus Glover and Adrian Walker.
Adrian Walker and Kenneth Walker, who was in the apartment at the time of the fatal shooting, are not related.
Taylor’s car was listed in the warrant, but it was her former car — a white Chevy Impala — not her new black Dodge Charger, indicating that the surveillance was outdated.
Our ruling: TRUE
Claim: ‘The officers did in fact knock & announce despite obtaining a “no knock” exception on the warrant.’
Court records show that Louisville police obtained a warrant with a no-knock provision for Taylor’s apartment approved by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw, though police and prosecutors have said that the officers knocked and announced themselves before breaking down the door. Authorities said that at least one person other than police confirmed that officers announced their presence before going in.
But in interviews with several of Taylor’s neighbors, The New York Times found only one who reported hearing police announce themselves and he only heard them say it once, the newspaper reported. The Times and lawyers for Taylor’s family talked to as many as 11 other neighbors who said they didn’t hear police identify themselves.
Our ruling: INCONCLUSIVE. There are conflicting reports among authorities, lawyers and media over whether police announced themselves.
Claim: ‘Breonna’s boyfriend fired at officers, striking an officer, officers fired back & Breonna took the shots. She was NOT asleep in her bed.’
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine played partial recordings of police interviews with Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, during a May 22 news conference in which Walker told police that he and Taylor were watching a movie in bed — it was “watching them more than we were watching it,” he said — when they heard a loud bang at the door, scaring both of them.
Walker said he initially thought it might’ve been Taylor’s former boyfriend, but that there was no response when Taylor twice called out, “Who is it?”
Then, Walker said he grabbed his Glock handgun (it was registered to Walker) saying he was, “Scared to death.”
More: Louisville cop injured in Breonna Taylor shooting threatens lawsuits over being called ‘murderer’
Taylor yelled again “at the top of her lungs,” asking who it was, Walker said in the recording. He said he was asking, too.
They got out of bed and were going toward the door when it “comes off its hinges.” Walker fired one shot, unable to see who he was shooting at, he told police, according to his arrest citation.
Police fired in response, striking Taylor six times, according to her autopsy report. She died in the hallway of her apartment, the report states.
Our ruling: TRUE
Overall ruling: Partly false
The seven claims made in one viral meme are a mix of true, false and inconclusive, based on our research. Overall, we rate this claim as PARTLY FALSE.
Our fact-check sources
Office of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, July 31, “Details and timeline of the Breonna Taylor case”
Louisville Courier Journal, May 25, ‘Clearly, I was scared’: Newly released police interviews shed light on Breonna Taylor case’
Louisville Courier Journal, Aug. 27, “Exclusive: Breonna Taylor had nothing to do with illegal drug trade, ex-boyfriend says, Aug. 27, 2020”
Louisville Courier Journal, Aug. 30, “Louisville police pursued ‘no-knock’ search warrant in fatal shooting of ER tech in her home”
Louisville Courier Journal, Aug. 31. “Prosecutor denies offering plea deal to drug suspect naming Breonna Taylor as co-defendant”
Breonna Taylor search warrant
The New York Times, Sept. 24, “What we know about Breonna Taylor’s case and Death”
The New York Times, Aug. 30. “Breonna Taylor’s L:ife Was Changing. Then the Police Came to Her Door”
Washington Post, Sept. 24, “Correcting the Misinformation About Breonna Taylor”
USA TODAY, Sept. 24, “Why were police at Breonna Taylor’s home? Here’s what an investigative summary says”
USA TODAY, May 28, “911 call from Breonna Taylor shooting released: ‘Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend”
WAVE News 3, May 14, “Personnel records give timeline of Breonna Taylor’s career as an EMT”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Posts with Breonna Taylor ‘truths’ include misinformation