Ex-Officer Involved in Breonna Taylor Shooting Charged - Rolling Stone
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One Ex-Officer Charged in Connection to the Killing of Breonna Taylor

Brett Hankison, who was fired from the LMPD in June, is facing three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment

Breonna Taylor

The Kentucky Attorney General released 15 hours of grand jury tapes documenting the presentation of evidence in the Breonna Taylor case.

Family of Breonna-Taylor/Courtesy of Benjamin Crump

A Kentucky grand jury has charged one former Louisville Metro Police Department officer, Brett Hankison, in the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Hankison was charged three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. No charges were announced for the other two officers involved in the March 13th shooting, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove.

Hankison was fired from the LMPD in June, with Louisville Chief of Police, Robert J. Schroeder, writing that he violated several rules and regulations, including those involving the use of deadly force. Schroeder’s letter said Hankison “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment.

On Twitter, Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family issued a statement calling the grand jury’s decision “outrageous and offensive to her memory,” and “yet another example of no accountability for the genocide of persons of color by white police officers.”

He continued, “If Hankison’s behavior constituted the wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder. How ironic and and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence. This amounts to the most egregious disrespect of Black people, especially Black women, killed by police in America, and it’s indefensible, regardless of how Attorney General Daniel Cameron seeks to justify it.”

Earlier this week, in anticipation of the announcement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued a state of emergency for the city, which would allow him to exercise emergency powers because of “the potential for civil unrest,” as local ABC affiliate WHAS 11 reported. The LMPD’s interim chief, Robert J. Schroeder, also issued a similar statement and put a moratorium on all officer vacation days.

Additionally, Mattingly, sent an email to all LMPD officers in which he claimed he and his colleagues “did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night.” He also bemoaned the way “the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized,” and told officers, in anticipation of potential protests, not to “give the pencil pushers at the top… a reason to open investigations on you.”

Cameron’s announcement comes over six months after Mattingly, Hankison and Cosgrove shot and killed Taylor, 26, at her home. The three had entered her apartment after executing a no-knock warrant, believing that Taylor’s apartment was allegedly being used as a place for drug suspects to pick up packages. While the police claimed they announced their arrival, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said otherwise, so when the three burst through the door, Walker, a registered gun owner, fired a shot at the people he believed were intruders. One officer was struck in the thigh. In turn the police allegedly fired about 20 shots, eight of which struck Taylor.

While Taylor was killed in March, her death didn’t garner national attention until late May/early June amid the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was at this point Hankiso was fired from the LMPD, while Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative reassignment.

Earlier this month, the City of Louisville paid Taylor’s family $12 million and instituted a new set of policing reforms to settle a wrongful death lawsuit the family had filed.

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