The Louisville Metro Police Department has released a statement via Twitter announcing that Brett Hankison, the officer who shot Breonna Taylor as she lay in her bed during a raid in March, was fired.
Hankison was one of three officers involved in the no-knock warrant who showed up at Taylor’s house and conducted a 12:43 a.m. raid on her home, where she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. The other two, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, are still on administrative leave.
Walker, who was arrested and charged with attempted homicide after he shot one of the police officers during the raid, is being defended by attorney Rob Eggert. Eggert told local news station WDBR that Walker was acting in self-defense and said Taylor’s death was the result of “police misconduct.” The charges were eventually dropped against him.
However, calls for investigations into the officers’ conduct have steadily increased, especially in light of George Floyd‘s death and Hankison’s and Cosgrove’s previous record of being named in lawsuits.
LMPD Announced Hankison’s Official Firing
LMPD Chief Rob Schroeder had announced plans to terminate Hankison days earlier, yet still had not completed the process. However, Hankison was facing allegations of sexual assault and the department was facing public pressure to do something about her death.
In his termination letter, Schroeder said he sustained the findings of the Public Integrity Unit investigation, which found four counts of violations of the standard operating procedure governing “obedience to rules and regulations” and 10 counts of violations of the “use of deadly force” SOP:
Your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020. These rounds created a substantial danger of death and serious injury to Breonna Taylor and the three occupants of the apartment next to Ms. Taylor’s. …
… You used deadly force by blindly firing ten (10) rounds into Breonna Taylor’s apartment without supporting facts that your deadly force was directed at a person against whom posed an immediate threat of danger or serious injury to yourself of others. In fact the ten (10) rounds you fired were into a patio door and window which were covered with material that prevented you from verifying any person as an immediate threat or more importantly any innocent persons present. …
I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion. You have never been trained by the Louisville Metro Police Department to use deadly force in this fashion. Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department. …
Taylor Was Shot & Killed In a Raid of Which She Was Not the Target
According to USA Today, Taylor was not listed as the main target of the drug investigation, although she was listed on the warrant. The search warrant used to enter Taylor’s home listed Jamarcus Glover and Adrian Walker as the suspects in their investigation; police believed Glover was using Taylor’s home to receive mail and hide drugs and money.
On the same night that police executed the search warrant on Taylor’s home, another search warrant was used to enter a different home which, USA Today reported, led to the seizure of suspected crack cocaine and marijuana as well as drugs; Glover was arrested at a different address on the same night police entered Taylor’s home.
Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend had a criminal history or drug convictions and no illegal drugs were ever found in the apartment, which is consistent with what Taylor’s aunt, Bionca Austin, has said all along.
“This is not a woman who would sacrifice her life and her family morals and values to sell drugs on the street,” Austin said in an earlier interview with WHAS-11.
Walker Was Initially Arrested, Then Released
According to reports from local TV station WDRB, officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Criminal Interdiction Division used a battering ram to break down the door and rushed into the house on Springfield Drive at 1 a.m., waking Taylor and her boyfriend, Walker. Walker shot at the officers, wounding one, and the three who entered fired some 22 shots back, according to Eggert, Walker’s defense attorney; Taylor was shot eight times and died.
Although Eggert said Walker thought he was shooting at intruders, Walker actually shot Officer Jonathan Mattingly, who was serving the warrant with two other police officers — Hankison and Cosgrove. At a May 22 press conference, Jefferson County Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine said the bullet pierced Mattingly’s femoral artery. Shortly after the incident, Walker was charged with the attempted murder of a police officer.
Walker was released and put under house arrest but still faced the charges. However, new evidence regarding the no-knock warrant and some of the officers’ history of conduct led to calls for a more thorough investigation. On May 22, Wine announced that the commonwealth planned on changing course.