National Roundup

Boyfriend recounts police  shooting of Taylor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor said the hail of bullets coming at them from police the night she was killed in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment sounded like a war.

Kenneth Walker said he tried to pull Taylor down to the floor amid the gunfire but “she was just scared, she didn’t get down.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many gunshots like all at the same time,” Walker told “CBS This Morning” in his first televised interview since the shooting. “I’ve never been to war but I assume that’s what war probably sounds like.”

He said the loss of Taylor, an emergency medical worker, is especially hard because she “took care of a lot of people.”

“There’s a lot of people who need her bad right now, including me,” Walker said in the interview, which aired Wednesday.

They were in bed watching a movie early on March 13 when police serving a narcotics warrant knocked down the door. Walker told investigators he heard loud knocking, but didn’t hear police identify themselves, so he thought it was an intruder.

“I’m a million percent sure that nobody identified themselves,” Walker said in the CBS interview. “That’s why I grabbed the gun. Didn’t have a clue” they were police, he said.

Walker fired a single shot toward the door, striking a police officer in the leg. That officer and two others returned 32 shots. Taylor was hit five times and died at the scene. Walker wasn’t hurt, but he was initially arrested for attempted murder of a police officer. That charge was dropped in May.

Last month, a grand jury in Louisville declined to charge any of the officers in Taylor’s death. One officer was charged with wanton endangerment for firing bullets that went through Taylor’s apartment and penetrated a neighbor’s home.

Judge rules triple killing occurred on tribal land

PURCELL, Okla. (AP) — A death row inmate in Oklahoma is likely to get a new trial in federal court after a judge determined that the victims in the case were tribal citizens and the killings happened on Indian land, as determined by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

McLain County District Judge Leah Edwards issued the ruling Tuesday in the case of Shaun Michael Bosse, 38, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2010 killing of Katrina Griffin and her two young children. All three victims were found inside a burning mobile home near Dibble, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City.

The ruling stems from a U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that found that Congress never disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation and that the state of Oklahoma therefore lacks criminal jurisdiction in cases involving defendants or victims who are tribal citizens when the crime occurs on tribal lands. Although the Supreme Court’s decision applied to the Muskogee (Creek) Nation, several other Oklahoma-based tribes have similar historic reservations, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations.

Although Bosse is not a tribal citizen, the court determined that Griffin and her children were Native Americans and that the crime occurred on land inside the Chickasaw Nation’s historic reservation.

“He’s benefiting from the people he killed,” said District Attorney Greg Mashburn, whose office prosecuted Bosse. “It would be a travesty of justice if he got anything less than death.”

Bosse’s attorney didn’t immediately reply to a Wednesday phone message seeking comment.

The case now returns to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, which will determine how to handle dozens of appeals of inmates who claim they were wrongfully prosecuted in state court.

Man accused of supporting IS group ruled incompetent

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man accused of pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and wanting to fight for it in Syria was ruled incompetent to stand trial Wednesday.

Kevin Iman McCormick, 27, of Hamden, suffers from a mental disease or defect and cannot understand the trial proceedings or help in his own defense, federal Judge Kari Dooley in Bridgeport said, citing a doctor’s analysis.

McCormick was returned to federal custody to receive treatment with the goal of restoring his competence, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

McCormick was arrested last year and charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

Federal prosecutor Douglas Morabito and McCormick’s lawyer, Allison Near, agreed with the conclusions of the doctor’s report during Wednesday’s hearing.

McCormick was arrested at a small, private Connecticut airport as he tried to board a flight to Canada, where he intended to grab another flight to the Middle East, authorities said.

A concerned person who attends an Islamic center outside Connecticut informed the FBI in early October 2019 that McCormick had expressed to them a desire to travel to Syria and “fight for Allah,” according to an FBI agent’s affidavit.

Judge denies bid to block parts of law on police accountability

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a bid by the state troopers’ union to block parts of a new police accountability law that allows public disclosure of personnel files and internal affairs investigations.

Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Haight Jr. in New Haven denied the union’s request for an injunction in a ruling issued Tuesday.

The law approved by Gov. Ned Lamont and legislators earlier this year strips away exemptions to state Freedom of Information laws in the state police contract. The 2018-2022 contract says troopers’ personnel files and documents in internal affairs investigations that end with no finding of wrongdoing are not subject to disclosure.

Haight said the Connecticut State Police Union was unlikely to succeed in proving its claim that the new disclosure requirements are unconstitutional because they conflict with the contract.

The union disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal to a federal appeals court, said Andrew Matthews, the union’s executive director.

Proponents of the law said it answers the calls for reform after the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people. It creates a new inspector general to investigate police use-of-force cases, limits circumstances in which deadly use of force can be justified and allows civil lawsuits in state courts against officers in certain cases.