A Kentucky grand jury has indicted Louisville police officer Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment in the killing of Breonna Taylor, who has become one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The case centered on the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was killed March 13 when police executed a no-knock search warrant at her apartment during a narcotics investigation.
Police were responding to a shot allegedly fired at them by Taylor’s boyfriend. That shot struck one officer.
Hankison was fired from the department in June when his termination letter said he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 times into Taylor’s apartment, The Washington Post reported.
Two other officers involved were not charged, and Hankison does not face more serious charges, The Hill reported.
Manhattan, New York, District Attorney candidate Eliza Orlins tweeted that Hankison faces a Class D felony with a maximum of one-to-five years in prison with a $15,000 cash bond.
Breonna Taylor’s killer, Brett Hankison, charged with Class D felony: wanton endangerment in the first degree, max of 1 to 5 years in prison. $15,000 cash bond. No other officers charged. Once again, our “justice” system shows it’s designed to protect the powerful. #BreonnaTaylor
— Eliza Orlins (@elizaorlins) September 23, 2020
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron delivered the decision during a news conference Wednesday.
Cameron said a witness confirmed that the police officers knocked and announced their presence before entering the apartment.
“The grand jury voted to return an indictment against Hankison for three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree,” he said, adding that his office is prepared to prove the charges in a trial.
The other two officers — Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — were not charged because their actions were justified in returning fire as Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them.
There was also no evidence that Hankison’s gunfire hit Taylor. Cameron said an FBI ballistics analysis showed Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor.
Cameron stated that there most likely will not be any more indictments that deal with the events of that night.
“I know that not everyone will be satisfied by the charges we announced today,” Cameron said.
“My heart breaks for the loss of Ms. Taylor,” he added, fighting back tears.
In anticipation of the announcement, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department issued an emergency declaration on Monday and put up vehicle barricades around the perimeter of the Louisville downtown area, according to The Hill.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also put a 72-hour curfew in place, effective Wednesday night, and LMPD interim Chief Robert Schroeder said Kentucky National Guard members would be deployed following the announcement.
Police Chief Robert Schroeder said police will seek to protect the public “while also ensuring the constitutional right for people to express their feelings in a lawful and peaceful manner,” according to The Washington Post.
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