Kentucky Won’t Pursue Murder Charges Against Taylor Officers
Kentucky won’t pursue murder charges against the police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor, instead bringing lesser counts against one of the three men involved.
Brett Hankison was indicted Wednesday on three counts of first-degree “wanton endangerment” for firing his weapon into unidentified apartments. He faces five years for each count. The Kentucky attorney general said Hankison was not responsible for the gunfire that killed the 26-year-old Black woman, who was shot in her home in March by police officers serving a warrant as part of a drug investigation.
While there was no body camera footage of the event, “evidence shows the officers both knocked and announced” who they were before serving the warrant, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a press conference, citing a witness to the event. “In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant,” he said.
“Our investigation found Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force,” Cameron also said, referring to officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove. The two returned fired after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kevin Walker, shot at them.
“Justice is not often easy,” he said.
Taylor’s death, along with other recent police killings of African Americans, have spurred protests throughout the nation. Louisville was placed in a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury findings in anticipation of possible demonstrations. Cameron called for peaceful protests, and television footage showed people in the streets of downtown Louisville.
No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment, and the target of the investigation didn’t live with her. Hankison was fired from the Louisville force in June.
Under Kentucky law, someone can be charged with “wanton endangerment” by pointing a gun at a person or firing at them. First degree implies that the person did so with “extreme indifference to the value of human life”.
The city earlier this month agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million and enact a series of reforms to improve relations with the community and prevent future shooting incidents to settle a lawsuit over her death.
The judge set bail for Hankison at $15,000.
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