Louisville grand jury indicts 1 of 3 officers in Breonna Taylor death

Protesters stop traffic on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to express outrage at police brutality on Friday, Sept. 18. Last week, That week, Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer signed an ordinance that bans no-knock warrants like the one police were executing when they shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Sept. 23 (UPI) — The city of Louisville, Ky., said Wednesday a grand jury has indicted one of three officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

A Jefferson County grand jury indicted former officer Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. The other two involved in the shooting, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.

Taylor, 26, was shot in her apartment during a “no-knock” search warrant on March 13 related to a narcotics investigation. The officers arrived without warning and drew resistance from Taylor’s boyfriend, who was alarmed by the sudden interruption.

Hankison was dismissed from the force in June after “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment and one next door, showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” said Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder.

A $15,000 bond was set for the former officer.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, had called for a minimum of a second-degree manslaughter charge.

An array of activists, politicians and celebrities have called for all three officers to face murder charges — including Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Biden said earlier this month the officers “need to be charged.”

“The officers who murdered Breonna Taylor nearly three months ago still have not been charged,” Harris tweeted in June. “We can’t forget about Black women in our quest for justice.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron had previously refused to specify a timetable for a decision or even confirm that he’d sent the case to a grand jury. He was scheduled to address the charges Wednesday afternoon and discuss the jury’s findings.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday out of concern for potential civil unrest following the decision. The declaration allowed him to set curfews.

“Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement,” he said in a statement. “At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”

The Gene Snyder federal courthouse in downtown Louisville began a week-long closure on Monday as officials prepared for a possibility the officers would not be charged. It will remain closed through Friday.

The city agreed to a $12 million civil settlement with Taylor’s family earlier this month.

The settlement included some policing reforms, including a requirement that police commanders approve all warrants before they go to a judge, mandatory written approval before search warrants are executed and an overhaul of the process for simultaneous search warrants.

Taylor’s death, and that of of George Floyd in Minnesota, spurred many weeks of unrest nationwide this summer that called for the officers in Louisville and Minneapolis to be prosecuted.


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