Breonna Taylor shooting: Former detective indicted on wanton endangerment charges

Breonna Taylor death - Detective indicted for wanton endangerment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A grand jury in Kentucky on Wednesday indicted a former Louisville police detective involved in the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

Detective Brett Hankison, who was fired from the police department in June, was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shooting into Taylor’s apartment from outside, endangering the lives of three people in the apartment next door. The grand jury determined that two other officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were justified in the shooting.

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Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, called the grand jury’s decision to indict only one of the three officers who opened fire March 13 on Breonna Taylor, killing her, “outrageous and offensive."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said neither Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly nor Detective Myles Cosgrove were indicted Wednesday because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire before they started shooting. Their actions have been deemed justified, Cameron said.

Detective Brett Hankison, who fired several shots into Taylor’s apartment from outside, was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Cameron said the charges were due to the risk he placed on the lives of the three people inside the apartment next to Taylor’s.

“If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too,” Crump said in a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter. “In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!”

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said a civilian witness confirmed that police announced themselves in the early morning of March 13 while conducting a search warrant on 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s apartment, contradicting reports that officers were executing a “no-knock” search warrant.

A grand jury determined Wednesday that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were justified when they opened fire on Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Walker told police he heard knocking but didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defense.

Mattingly, Cosgrove and Detective Brett Hankison returned fire, shooting Taylor six times. Cameron said one of her injuries was fatal.

A grand jury indicted Hankison on Wednesday on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, a Class D felony. The charges were related to Hankison’s decision to open fire on Taylor’s apartment while still outside, endangering the lives of three people in the apartment next door.

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon after a grand jury announced an indictment against Detective Brett Hankison, one of the officers who opened fire March 13 while serving a no-knock search warrant on 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s home.

Press Conference Regarding the Results of the Grand Jury

Posted by Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: A grand jury has indicted former Louisville detective Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment in the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman.

Two other officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted by the grand jury.

Police fired Hankison from the city’s police department June 23. A termination letter sent to him by interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer had violated procedures by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 rounds of gunfire into Taylor’s apartment in March.

Original report: A grand jury in Kentucky is set to present its report to a judge Wednesday in the deadly shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman killed by police officers who burst into her home at night while conducting a “no-knock” search warrant.

Breonna Taylor: Grand jury announces decision in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old by Louisville police

Posted by USA TODAY on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

In a statement posted on Twitter, Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the Taylor family, confirmed that a grand jury will present its decision at 1:15 p.m. on whether to charge the officers involved in the shooting.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he will announce the results of the grand jury’s proceedings at a 1:30 p.m. news conference.

We are holding a press conference at 1:30pm ET to announce the results of the Grand Jury proceedings in the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor.

Posted by Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Officials in Louisville are preparing for possible demonstrations after the announcement. Authorities have closed several buildings downtown for the week and Mayor Greg Fischer has announced a 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. curfew on Wednesday.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, died March 13 after being shot by officers who entered her home on a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.

Officer Brett Hankison was fired from the city’s police department June 23. A termination letter sent to him by interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder said the white officer had violated procedures by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 rounds of gunfire into Taylor’s apartment in March.

Hankison, Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove and the detective who sought the warrant, Joshua Jaynes, were placed on administrative reassignment after the shooting.

Last week, Fischer announced that the city will pay $12 million and implement police reforms as part of a settlement with Taylor’s family. Her mother, Tamika Palmer, called the settlement “significant” but noted that “it’s only the beginning of getting justice for Breonna.”

“It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more,” Palmer said. “Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

Demonstrators have taken to the streets for weeks to call for charges against the officers involved in Taylor’s death as part of a wider national reckoning on race and police violence in America. The release in late May of a 911 call by Taylor’s boyfriend marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, fueled by her shooting and the violent death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.