A Kentucky Grand Jury Indicts One Police Officer In Connection To Breonna Taylor’s Death
Updated September 23, 2020
After months of nationwide outrage and protest, a Kentucky grand jury has indicted one of the police officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s death. Taylor’s death set off nationwide protests against police brutality and the health crisis of unarmed Black people being killed by police.
One officer involved with Breonna Taylor’s death has been indicted by a grand jury.
The grand jury indicted former police officer Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment for firing his gun into three neighboring apartments. The indictment does not include Hankison firing his weapon into Taylor’s apartment. The two other officers involved with the shooting death of Taylor, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.
“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible,” then Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote when terminating Hankison more than three months after Taylor’s death. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”
Many consider the news a step in the right direction but for many it is not enough.
Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed when police executed a no-knock warrant and broke into her home while she was sleeping. The police had the wrong address and opened fire on Taylor when they saw her. Her boyfriend fired his gun in response and was arrested that night. Taylor was killed on March 13, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that she was helping to combat.
Police in several cities and states are on standby following the decision to monitor the public’s response. Police chiefs in several cities are prepared to unrest as a result of the indictment news.
Updated September 15, 2020.
Seven months after a botched no-knock raid killed 26-year-old EMT worker Breonna Taylor, her family is finally experiencing some sort of reckoning over an event that was utterly inexplicable. This week, her family agreed to a $12 million settlement with the city of Louisville. The settlement also includes a massive change to policing in the city including the mandatory use of body cameras on police raids.
The family’s wrongful death lawsuit is the largest in Louisville’s history. The settlement tops a previous one in 2012 in which a man wrongly convicted of a crime and sent to prison for nine years was awarded $8.5 million.
The settlement does not mean that the open investigation on the shooting, or the potential for criminal charges against the officers involved, is over.
To date, only Brett Hankinson (one out of three officers involved) has been fired. The other two remain on administrative leave.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the Taylor family’s attorney Anita Baker stated that “It’s important for her family to minimize the risk of what happened to Breonna Taylor from happening to any other family in Louisville, Kentucky, and we’re going to continue the fight beyond Louisville.”
Allegations of sexual assault have been raised against Officer Brett Hankison, one of the three white officers accused of fatally shooting Breonna Taylor on March 13.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician was an aspiring nurse from Louisville, Ky. She was shot by police when they were taking part in a search warrant at the wrong apartment. The three officers involved in the shooting have not yet been charged with Taylor’s death but it’s Hankison who might be facing additional charges outside of the case.
Allegations against Hankison were raised earlier this summer by two women on social media.
According to People.com, Louisville Metro Police has reached out to the women in regards to their allegations to allow the department’s Public Integrity Unit to “initiate and conduct an investigation.”
Hankinson’s role in the death of Taylor has (along with the murder of George Floyd) sparked protests across the country.
Hankinson and the two other officers ( Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove) involved were placed on administrative leave following her death. It is now up to the department to investigate their actions. Renewed scrutiny of Hankinon’s history as an officer will hopefully influence his case. After all, Hankinson is at the center of an ongoing civil lawsuit in federal court which, according to Courier-Journal accuses “him of unrelated unnecessary arrests and harassment of another man, which Hankison has denied.”
According to Louisville TV station WHAS, in that civil lawsuit, Kendrick Wilson describes Hankison as “a dirty cop with a vendetta.” Hankinson arrested Wilson three times between 2016 and 2018 each time at bars where Hankisonwas employed as off-duty security. In his lawsuit, Wilson alleged that he and Hankinson had interactions outside of those arrests, “including over a relationship with the same woman.”
Margo Borders is one of the woman who accused Hankinson of sexual assault in a post to her Facebook in April 2018.
“A police officer who I had interacted with on many occasions at bars in St. Matthews offered me a ride home. He drove me home in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious” Borders wrote in her claim. “I never reported him out of fear of retaliation. I had no proof of what happened and he had the upper hand because he was a police officer. Who do you call when the person who assaulted you is a police officer? Who were they going to believe? I knew it wouldn’t be me.” In her claim, Borders accused Hankinson by name.
In the second claim, a woman who identified herself as Emily Terry took to Instagram to report him last fall.
“I began walking home from a bar intoxicated. A police officer pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home. I thought to myself, ‘Wow. That is so nice of him.’ And willingly got in,” she explained. “He began making sexual advances towards me; rubbing my thigh, kissing my forehead, and calling me ‘baby.’ Mortified, I did not move. I continued to talk about my grad school experiences and ignored him. As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back. My friend reported this the next day, and of course, nothing came from it.”
In response to questions about whether more formal complaints of Hankinson’s sexual harassment or sexual misconduct have been filed, his department said thatt they are still investigating the current complaints.
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for the department said “We encourage anyone with direct information about this situation to contact us and share that information with an investigator at (502) 574-7144.”
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