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Charges Announced Against Officer Involved in Shooting Death of Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor

It was announced on Wednesday that Jefferson County grand jury indicted fired police officer Brett Hankison for his actions amid the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Louisville woman Breonna Taylor. The defendant faces three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. These charges don’t have to do with Taylor’s death, but because the defendant allegedly fired into a neighboring apartment occupied by three people.

Louisville Metro Police executed a no-knock search warrant at Taylor’s apartment. According to her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, officers did not identify themselves although he repeatedly called out to them. Walker opened fire once and police shot back, killing Taylor.

Jamarcus Glover, the victim’s ex-boyfriend, was the actual subject of the drug investigation, and lived at another residence that was raided shortly before. He declined a plea deal in which he would have implicated Taylor.

“We are outraged that prosecutors would attempt to justify Breonna Taylor’s death by leaning on Jamarcus Glover to falsely state – after her death – that she was part of an organized crime syndicate,” said Taylor family attorney Ben Crump in a Sept. 1 statement obtained by Law&Crime. “This is why the Black community has no trust in America’s justice system. It’s enormously ironic that the accused drug dealer here acted with honor, refusing to falsely discredit Bre after her death – even when offered the temptation of no prison time for lying, while prosecutors and police acted in the most egregiously dishonest and dishonorable way possible. The police killed Bre once, and now they’re trying to kill her again by killing her reputation and her good name. Disgusting behavior by those who are supposed to be the protectors of justice.”

The shooting landed on a cultural fissure: the ongoing national debate regarding how law enforcement treats people of color, especially Black people. Taylor was Black. So is Walker, Glover, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special prosecutor in the case.

Cameron said in a press conference on Wednesday that officers at the time knocked on the door, and announced themselves. After being shot, Mattingly opened fire six times, the AG said. Cosgrove opened fire 16 times, Cameron said. Hankison allegedly fired 10 times. Tayor was struck six times; labs disagreed on whether the fatal round belonged to Cosgrove or not. It was determined that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after being fired on by Walker. Hankison was indicted for allegedly firing into a neighboring apartment.

Taylor’s family said she was never involved in drugs. Three officers were said to have opened fire at the March 13 incident: Sgt. Jon Mattingly (Walker shot him in the leg), Detective Myles Cosgrove, and Hankison.

Then-Interim Police Chief Robert J. Schroeder accused Hakinson in June of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment. The LMPD’s professional standards unit is investigating both Mattingly and Cosgrove for the incident. Detective Joshua Jaynes is investigated as the officer who obtained the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment. Detectives Michael CampbellTony James, and Michael Nobles were also subject to the investigation.

Mattingly lashed out at top brass and protesters in a statement sent early Tuesday morning. He defended how he and other police handled the Taylor raid. He framed the clashing and friction between cops and protesters as “good versus evil.

“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote. “It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.”

Note: This article was updated with more information about the charges, and a new statement from Crump.

[Image of Taylor via Ben Crump]

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