The Louisville grand jury hearing the case of the death of Breonna Taylor has indicted only one of the officers involved in the shooting, Det. Brett Hankinson, on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.
The two other officers who accompanied Det. Hankinson on the night, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, all of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), were not charged with any wrongdoing.
Announcing the charge, the jury’s statement, read by the judge, said Hankinson committed the “offense of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he wantonly shot a gun into the apartment occupied” by others.
Prior to Wednesday afternoon’s announcement, the state of Kentucky activated the National Guard in expectation of protests from those who may be dissatisfied by the charges.
A ‘no-knock’ killing
Taylor was with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when she was shot by the three Louisville police officers who broke into her apartment in the name of executing a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics investigation on March 13.
Police later explained that they had been investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, a convicted felon. But the deceased’s family sued the city in April, claiming “officers obtained a ‘no-knock’ search warrant with false information and burst into Taylor’s home after midnight without announcing themselves and ‘blindly fired’ into it, spraying bullets into her house and neighboring apartments with a total disregard for the value of human life.”
Last week, the city of Louisville announced that it had reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor’s family.
The issue of Taylor’s death was reignited by protests in the wake of George Floyd‘s in Minnesota on May 25. Celebrities such Beyoncé and Cardi B added their voices to calls for the officers involved in Taylor’s death to be prosecuted.
Beyoncé’s letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron bemoaned that “[T]he LMPD’s investigation was turned over to your office, and yet all the officers involved in the shooting remain employed by the LMPD”.
Mattingly, as well as officers Hankinson and Cosgrove were placed on administrative reassignment pending an investigation after it emerged that they failed to wear body cameras. They were then placed on administrative leave without charges.
Hankinson was later fired from the LMPD.