Grand jury indicts Brett Hankison, former Louisville cop

A memorial to Breonna Taylor, placed in Jefferson Square Park, is photographed in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on September 23, 2020 as the city anticipates of the results of a grand jury inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot by the Louisville Metro Police Department in her apartment earlier this year.

Jeff Dean | AFP | Getty Images

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former Louisville, Kentucky, cop, Sgt. Brett Hankison, on wanton endangerment charges connected to the police raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor —but he was not charged with any crimes related to the death of that Black woman.

Hankison, who fired 10 shots during the raid only was charged for having fired shots that ended up in a neighboring apartment to Taylor’s home, not into her residence itself.

Two other cops involved in the raid on Taylor’s home, Officer Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, were not criminally charged by the grand jury. 

An attorny for Taylor’s family, Ben Crump, condemned the lack of criminal charges related to her death.

“Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!” Crump tweeted.

“If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!” Crump added.

Judge Annie O’Connell said a warrant will be issued for Hankison’s arrest. She set bail at $15,000.

The death of the 26-year-old Taylor, who was hit by six shots, along with the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis last spring, catalyzed the protest-driven movement to reform police organizations that spread nationwide this summer.

Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.

People wait for the decision in the criminal case against police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by police in her apartment, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. September 23, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Hankison was charged with three counts of that crime. The multiple counts relate to the fact that the shots he fired went into Taylor’s apartment and into two other apartments.

The Louisville Police Department in June terminated Hankison’s employment, saying he had displayed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

In anticipation of the grand jury’s findings, Louisville’s mayor imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for coming days.

Taylor, who was an emergency medical technician, was at home with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, on the evening of March 13 when Louisville cops raided the residence and fired multiple shots.

Police were executing a search warrant for drugs or money related to an investigation involving Taylor’s former boyfriend.

Cops say they fired shots after they were shot at as they went into the house. Taylor’s relatives say Walker fired to defend himself because he believed someone was breaking into the house.

The two other cops who participated in the raid, Cosgrove and Mattingly, were placed on administrative leave.

So was the detective who had requested the warrant, Joshua Jaynes.

The city of Louisville last week agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. The city did not admit any wrongdoing as part of that agreement.

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