One of Three Officers Indicted in Breonna Taylor Shooting — But Not for Her Death

Kate Stuzin, Managing Editor

On Wednesday, the Kentucky grand jury indicted former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree after the shooting that killed Breonna Taylor.

The charges against Hankison, who fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment through the wall of a neighboring residence, do not hold him responsible for her death, but instead for the class D felony charge carries a penalty of one to five years in federal prison. He was released from the custody of Shelby County Detention Center in Louisville at 5 p.m. after posting $15,000 bail.

The grand jury did not announce any additional charges against the other two officers present the day of the shooting Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove —  and Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a news conference that he believed that the officers were justified in their use of force, which bars them from pursuing charges in Taylor’s death.

Cameron said that none of the shots fired by Hankison struck Taylor. He also said that ballistic evidence examined by the FBI showed that only one of the six shots that hit Taylor proved fatal, a .40-caliber bullet that Cosgrove fired. Cosgrove fired into the apartment 16 times after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on him with a “no knock warrant,” with the actual suspect already in custody. 

Early Tuesday, one day after the grand jury convened, Mattingly sent a mass email to the department defending his actions and role in the Breonna Taylor case. 

Almost 200 demonstrators gathered in Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville before the hearing. After some time, the long-awaited charges played on loudspeakers, causing massive uproar and demands for more serious counts and the arrest of all three officers.

Prior to the hearing, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer braced the city of Louisville for riots by invoking a 72-hour curfew, effective Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The city has declared a state of emergency and set up barricades to restrict vehicle access to the downtown area. Businesses in the area nailed plywood across their storefronts and some government buildings closed for the week. 

The protests remained relatively peaceful until just before the 9 p.m. curfew went into effect, when two Louisville police officers were shot. Their condition is unknown. The FBI Loiusville SWAT team confirmed the shooting and will continue to assist in the investigation. 

Earlier this month, on Sept. 15, Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family a historic $12 million settlement for the wrongful death lawsuit. The city will also enact police reforms, such as providing social workers to work with police on certain police runs, requiring approval from commanders on search warrants and creating an Office of Inspector General to track down complaints and help weed out officers using unnecessary or excessive force.