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Grand jury charges 1 officer in death of Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor Memorial in Louisville Kentucky (FloNight/WikiCommons)
September 23, 2020

A Kentucky grand jury decided to file charges against one of the police officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor.

The grand jury brought three charges of first-degree wanton endangerment against Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Officer Brett Hankinson. The charges, one of which is a Class D felony, are for discharging his firearm, sending bullets into apartments neighboring Taylor’s apartment.

Hankinson is currently held on a $15,000 cash bond. He was fired from the police department in June.

Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020 when four officers entered her home on a warrant during a narcotics investigation.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said on Wednesday afternoon that the officers did not enter on a “no knock” warrant, as previously reported, because they announced their presence before entering.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, admitted to hearing knocking at the door and firing at the police officers in what he said was self-defense. One of Walker’s bullets struck LMPD Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly. Walker was previously charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but charges were later dropped.

Hankinson, Mattingly, and a third officer, Myles Cosgrove, had returned fire, shooting 10 times into Taylor’s apartment. Taylor was shot multiple times and died from her wounds.

AG Cameron said investigators determined determined one bullet struck Taylor and that bullet proved to be fatal. The bullet could not be traced to Hankinson’s gun, Cameron said, but could be traced to Cosgrove’s.

“The use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,” Cameron said. “That justification bars us from pursuing murder charges.”

Taylor’s death has fueled nationwide protests as activists call for justice in her death and the deaths of other black individuals killed by law enforcement.

The city of Louisville had declared a state of emergency ahead of the announcement, as city officials prepare for the possibility of unrest.