There's Been an Indictment in Breonna Taylor Case

Jefferson County grand jury report is in
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 12:29 PM CDT
Updated Sep 23, 2020 1:20 PM CDT
One Officer in Breonna Taylor Case Is Indicted
This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.   (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

After 118 days of protests in Louisville over the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, a grand jury indictment: Officer Brett Hankison will be charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, though the charges do not appear to be related directly to Taylor's death. The Courier-Journal reports that in reading the charges Wednesday, Jefferson County Judge Annie O'Connell said Hankison "wantonly shot a gun" into three apartments. The people in those apartments were identified using only initials, and none were BT. Per the Courier-Journal, "That means it appears the grand jury did not find that Hankison wantonly fired into Taylor's apartment" on March 13. The family had been seeking manslaughter charges, notes CNN. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron elaborated in a press conference:

  • Cameron said that "what I can provide today are the facts, which my office has worked long and hard to uncover."
  • "The decision before my office was not to decide if the loss of Miss Taylor's life was a tragedy. The answer to that question is unequivocally yes."

  • Cameron said his job was to put emotions aside and investigate the facts, including examining the actions of the three officers who fired their weapons that night.
  • He said he can only speak in "general terms" while the case is moving forward. Cameron said the sequence of events had to be pieced together using interviews, ballistics, and 911 calls because there was no video. The scope of the investigation did not look at the obtaining of the search warrant issued for Taylor's apartment.
  • Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment, Cameron said, and officers' statements to that end were corroborated by a witness. Therefore, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant, he says.
  • Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly was the first and only officer to enter the residence and spotted a male and female at the end of the hall, per Cameron. Mattingly says he heard the gun fire and immediately realized he had been shot in the leg. He fired back, as did Officer Myles Cosgrove from the doorway.
  • Taylor was struck six times. An FBI crime lab determined Cosgrove fired the fatal shot. Cameron says Taylor would have died within "a few seconds to two minutes."
  • "Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by [Taylor's boyfriend] Kenneth Walker," Cameron said.
  • The charges involving Hankison relate to 3 individuals in a neighboring apartment that was shot at, noted Cameron, who said each charge is punishable by up to five years.
  • According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified, Cameron emphasized, which prevents the state from pursuing criminal charges in Taylor's death.
  • Said Cameron: "This is a tragedy. And sometimes, the criminal law is not adequate to respond to a tragedy. And I fully acknowledge that and I know many that are watching today and those listening recognize that as well. But the response is that the grand jury was given all of the evidence, presented all the information, and ultimately, made the determination that Detective Hankison was the one to be indicted."
  • The AP reports Hankison was fired from the Louisville PD in June, with his termination letter stating he showed "extreme indifference to the value of human life" by "wantonly and blindly" shooting 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment. Mattingly and Cosgrove were put on administrative reassignment.
  • Prior to the announcement, a 9pm to 6:30am curfew was put in place by the mayor for tonight.
(More Breonna Taylor stories.)

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