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Brett Hankison, Only Officer to Face Charges Stemming From Botched Police Raid that Led to Breonna Taylor's Death, Found Not Guilty

Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed on March 13, 2020
by officers executing a "no-knock" warrant.
Nearly two years after her death triggered protests across the country against police brutality and calls to
"arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor,” the only police officer charged in the fatal “no-knock” police raid that led to the death of the 26-year-old EMT, has been found not guilty of wanton endangerment.

A Kentucky jury cleared former police officer, Brett Hankison, on Thursday of charges he endangered neighbors when he fired shots into an apartment during a 2020 drug raid that saw officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department execute a search warrant at the wrong home and ended in Taylor’s death.

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had been in bed when the plainclothes cops arrived just after midnight but got up when they heard banging at the door. In earlier court proceedings, Walker said they both called out for the intruders to identify themselves. When they received no answer, according to Walker, and the door was broken off its hinges, he fired a warning shot.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was struck in the thigh by that bullet. Mattingly, officer Myles Cosgrove and Hankison responded with 32 shots of their own in return. Taylor was struck six times. Cosgrove who was responsible for 16 of those rounds was determined to have fired the shot that killed Taylor.

Hankison, 45, admitted to firing 10-rounds blindly through Taylor's patio doors and bedroom window from outside at the trial, but he said he did it to save his fellow officers.

When asked if he did anything wrong during the raid, Hankison replied: “Absolutely not." He added, “She didn’t need to die that night.” Following the exchange, Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, stormed out of the courtroom.

Hankison was the only officer involved to face charges related to the botched raid. A grand jury found that the two other officers who fired on Taylor that night acted in self-defense after Mattingly was shot. That jury found that several bullets Hankison fired went into a neighboring unit where a pregnant woman, a man and a child were home.

While Taylor’s family has yet to get the justice it sought, led by Palmer and other activists some progress has been made in her name. After Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron’s office declined to seek charges against any of the officers in connection to Taylor’s death, protestors filled the streets for months. Eventually, a $12 million settlement was reached between the family and the city of Louisville, Kentucky. It included a major reform package that banned “no-knock” raids amongst other changes.

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