One Of Three Officers Involved In Breonna Taylor Killing Indicted
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron finally came out to say what the charges would be in the case.
September 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm
After months of protests and demands for justice, Judge Annie O'Connell announced that just one of the three officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor on March 13, will be indicted in her killing. Ex-detective Brett Hankison is facing three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
According to WKLY, no charges were announced for the other two officials, sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and detective Myles Cosgrove, who were also directly involved in her killing.
The charge is considered a class D felony and is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. Hankinson is being held on a $15,000 bond according to The Courier-Journal.
According to the Ron Aslam Law Office, acting wantonly involves "an understanding of the risk ('is aware of and consciously') and negligent ('disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk')."
The judge said Hankinson "wantonly shot a gun" when he fired into three homes on the night of March 13. Of those in the home, a report showed that which Taylor had been residing in wasn't even listed as one of the apartments.
Since Monday, the city of Louisville has been preparing for the announcement with the police chief declaring a state of emergency. Officials have set up road barricades and boarded up windows to the city's courthouses.
“This is certainly an over-response to the local protests that have been happening in our community,” Sadiqa Reynolds, head of the Louisville Urban League, told the Associated Press.
"This city keeps meeting the desire for justice with this preparation for war,” she added, noting that protests over Taylor's killing have rarely led to violence in the city, making the city's doomsday preparations look like an overreaction.
Cameron has been coy about when he would announce the potential charges but CNN reported that a grand jury was empaneled on Sept. 9.
Cameron has faced endless criticism for taking more than six months to decide whether the three law enforcement officials should face charges in the case. Since Taylor was shot to death, he has seemingly gotten engaged, toured the White House multiple times, fought Kentucky's governor over mask mandates and met with local football teams over resuming the season, as Blavity previously reported.
He has also used Taylor's high-profile killing to become a star within Republican circles, leveraging the killing into a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention and a place on President Donald Trump's list of Supreme Court candidates.
Taylor's killing sparked a global protest movement this summer that led to demonstrations in all 50 states and dozens of countries around the world. Her death, and the tragic events that led up to it, kicked off a global conversation about racism, anti-Blackness and police brutality.
Protesters have been taking to the streets for more than 100 days, vowing not to stop until justice was served. WNBA and NBA players have made her name an important part of their return to play after the coronavirus pandemic forced all sports leagues to shut down earlier this year.
A Change.org petition in Taylor's honor became the second largest in the site's history with more than 10 million signatures.
Celebrities have taken the time to spotlight Taylor's case and Oprah Winfrey made her the first woman to appear on the cover of her magazine. She also put up dozens of billboards across Louisville to remind people of Taylor's death.
All of these efforts started weeks after details began to emerge about what exactly happened on the night of March 13.
According to witness accounts given to multiple news outlets, the 26-year-old EMT, who had spent weeks helping her city deal with the coronavirus pandemic, was at home with her boyfriend.
They heard a loud banging on the door before it was kicked in. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot that allegedly hit Mattingly's leg. Cosgrove, Hankison and Mattingly proceeded to spray bullets throughout the apartment, firing bullets through the walls that nearly hit people in other apartments.
Crime scene photos show just how wildly the police officers shot, and in the letter announcing his termination, Hankison was harshly criticized for firing his weapon without any regard for the safety of the people around him.
Walker's lawyer later implied that it was Hankison's bullets that hit Mattingly. Walker was quickly arrested and charged with attempted murder, but as the case grew in prominence, the police dropped the charges, according to The New York Times.
Details later emerged that provided a better understanding of why the police decided to descend on Taylor's apartment with such force.
The New York Times' Rukmini Callimachi did a deep dive into the case and discovered that Taylor's apartment was a part of a wide ranging investigation by the city's "Place-Based Investigations unit." Lawyers for Taylor's family and Walker have said this unit amounts to a "gentrification" effort, but the city defended it as a way to keep communities safe by focusing on areas as opposed to gangs or specific people.
One of the targets of this "Place-Based Investigations unit" was Jamarcus Glover who previously dated Taylor.
Taylor had broken up with Glover and started dating Walker, writing on Twitter that she hoped to move forward with her life.
I pray 2018 is a better year for me financially. I mean by the grace of God I always made sure bills were covered but it’s been a long struggle & I’m over it ...— Breeeee (@PrettyN_Paidd) December 17, 2017
Glover allegedly used her address to mail drugs and money and police said he used her address on multiple documents despite not living there.
Tryna teach my baby sis to never settle for less than she deserve EVER 💯— Breeeee (@PrettyN_Paidd) February 24, 2020
"Just because a woman has an off-and-on relationship with a bad guy doesn’t mean she deserves a death sentence, or give law enforcement a reason to beat down her door in the middle of the night with no probable cause," lawyer Sam Aguiar told WDRB.
On the night of her death, police had already arrested Glover and others but were reportedly frustrated because they did not find the amount of money they hoped to find.
According to The New York Times, the officers believed they would find it at Taylor's home, and set up a raid believing she was home alone. After shooting Taylor to death, police found no money or drugs at her home.
"There was nothing never there or anything ever there, and at the end of the day, they went about it the wrong way and lied on that search warrant and shot that girl out there," Glover said in a video interview with The Courier-Journal.
Acknowledging fault in the case, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Taylor's family on September 15, as Blavity previously reported. The settlement made history because in addition to the monetary payout, it included a number of police reforms that will be implemented.
"No amount of money will bring back Breonna Taylor. We see this settlement as the bare minimum you can do for a grieving mother. The city isn't doing her any favors. True justice is not served with cash settlements. We need those involved in her murder to be arrested and charged. We need accountability. We need justice," Louisville protest organization Until Freedom said in a statement to CNN.