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Breonna Taylor shooting: Former detective indicted on wanton endangerment charges

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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.

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!”

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.

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.

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