A Jefferson County Sheriff, left, speaks with former Louisville Police officer Brett Hankison , before leaving the courtroom following his acquittal on three charges of wanton endangerment, Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment for shooting through Breonna Taylor's apartment into the home of her neighbors during botched police raid that killed Taylor. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, Pool)

An ex-officer has been acquitted of threatening Breonna Taylor’s neighbors in a bungled raid by Brett Hankison

Brett Hankison was found not guilty on all three counts of felony wanton endangerment after the bungled raid that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor. The verdict was announced on Thursday.

Despite the fact that the former Louisville Metro police detective was the only officer charged in the March 2020 shooting, he was not charged with her death.

 

 

After firing bullets through Taylor’s window and sliding glass door, 45-year-old Hankison was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. To defend his fellow cops, including one who was shot, the defense claimed that Hankison took action in a chaotic scenario.

The jury included Taylor’s mother and sister, both of whom were present for the decision. Only a few viewers dried their eyes in response to the news.

Stewart Mathews, the attorney for Hankison, said his client was performing his duty when he was shot.

“The right thing was done in the end. We are overjoyed that the decision was correct “Mathews made the statement in the quote above. Hankison avoided the microphones set up by reporters as he exited the courthouse.

The verdict was delivered after three hours of deliberation by the jury, and the prosecution stated it respected the decision.

Hankison would have spent one to five years in jail if found guilty of each offense.

When police fatally shot Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, in her own home, the charges were brought against the officers involved. The deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, her death sparked worldwide outrage over the treatment of Black people by the judicial system, as well as specific complaints of no-knock warrants.

During the five-day trial, 26 witnesses testified that Hankison shot into a window from outside his apartment in a direction that was perpendicular to where the shot came from. As a result of his gunshots, a man, a pregnant woman, and a 5-year-old boy who resided next door were put at risk, prosecutors said.

It was only a matter of inches before Cody Etherton’s life was in danger, he said in court.

In her closing remarks, Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley argued that, except Mattingly and Cosgrove, other policemen in the group rightly chose not to shoot. She contended that Hankison should not be firing since he was shooting “with no target.”

According to Whaley, “his wanton conduct may have increased one tragic death, (that of) Breonna Taylor, by three, easily”.

On March 25, 2020, the former cop provided an investigator a nearly hour-long filmed interview in which he referred to officers as “sitting ducks.”

Despite his denials of misconduct on the witness stand on Wednesday, Hankison expressed regret for the raid’s outcome.

After finding out that his rounds had passed through Taylor’s flat and into the adjoining house, he stated he felt “terrible” about the situation. After speaking with Taylor’s family, he said he felt sympathy for his neighbor and said as much in court.

Before Hankison could finish, he was interrupted by an objection: “Ms. Taylor’s family, she didn’t need to die that nightβ€”” Some of the audience members in the gallery gasped and sobbed when they heard those comments.

Hankison claims he didn’t know at the time that Taylor’s apartment was just across the hall from another one.

Officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, both of whom were involved in the bungled raid, invoked their Fifth Amendment rights to not testify. A federal inquiry may be ongoing, although they were not charged in this case.

How did we get to this point?

Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was the subject of five search warrants issued by a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge in 2020 as part of a narcotics investigation.

A search warrant was executed the next morning by Hankison, Mattingly, and Cosgrove, who broke down the front door of Taylor’s house and dragged in her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, who was asleep in her bed.

Mattingly was shot in the leg by Walker, who mistook the officers for intruders and seized a revolver he lawfully owned. The officers, including Hankison, responded with a hail of gunfire.

It appears that Taylor was shot multiple times while Walker stood nearby. Walker was unharmed in the incident.

‘Someone kicked through the door and shot my girlfriend,’ Walker stated in a 911 call.

Initially, Walker was accused of attempting to kill a police officer and committing a first-degree assault, but the charges were eventually dropped.

The Hankison verdict was questioned by Walker’s lawyer Frederick Moore III on Thursday.

According to a statement Moore provided to reporters, “This was not justice for Mr. Etherton, Ms. Napper, or her small son.” “Breonna Taylor and Kenneth Walker were not given the justice they deserved by this. As a result of the state’s assault on Kenneth Walker, he continues to exist among us without an apology or acknowledgment.”

When Cosgrove and Mattingly were shot, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron ruled that their use of force was justified since they were fired first.

According to Cameron, FBI ballistic tests showed that around from Cosgrove’s gun killed Taylor.

Neither officer is employed by the police department anymore. Cosgrove and Mattingly were fired in January and April 2021, respectively.

Breonna’s Law” was unanimously approved by the Louisville Metro Council in June 2020, prohibiting no-knock warrants. Additionally, the city of Louisville has agreed to compensate Taylor’s family $12 million as part of the settlement agreement.

In the wake of Hankison’s acquittal, the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) released the following statement: “LMPD has made it a priority to re-establish trust with the communities we serve since the events of March 13, 2020. For now, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) will not comment further on this case, as it respects the judicial process and acknowledges that there may yet be future procedures.”

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