About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Accuracy & Fairness Corrections & Clarifications Ethics Code Your Ad Choices
© MEAWW All rights reserved

Breonna Taylor: Wanton endangerment charge against Brett Hankison sparks anger, Internet says 'it's murder'

While Hankison was charged with three counts of 'wanton endangerment' over shots that were fired into a neighboring apartment, the other two officers -- Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove -- have not been charged
UPDATED SEP 23, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A grand jury has indicted former police officer Brett Hankison on criminal charges nearly six months after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, was allegedly shot dead by police in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13. The decision of the jury against Hankison was presented to a judge on Wednesday, September 23. Hankison has reportedly been charged with three counts of "wanton endangerment" over shots that were fired into a neighboring apartment. The other two officers who discharged their weapons that night -- Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove -- have not been charged. Hankison was fired from his job after nationwide outrage over Taylor's death.

As per The Guardian, dozens of people who had gathered waiting for the announcement in Louisville reacted angrily to the charges, as well as the decision to indict only one officer. Civil rights leader Al Sharpton told MSNBC that the charges were “grossly insufficient”.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a press conference in the state capital, Frankfort, on Wednesday afternoon that “there is no doubt this is a gut-wrenching” outcome of the case for many. But anger was seen not just on the streets but on social media as well. New York Times journalist Charles M. Blow wrote on Twitter, “Always remember: the reason these officers so rarely get charged, let alone convicted, is because killing us is LEGAL. They can almost always find a way to justify it that the law will accept.”

ABC reporter Stephanie Wash noted, “The charges brought in the #BreonnaTaylor case today were not related to her shooting death or Kenneth Walker. The 3 wanton endangerment charges relate to Officer Hankinson shooting blindly and striking her pregnant neighbor’s apartment where 3 people resided.” Journalist Tareeq Nashid wrote on Twitter, “In a system of white supremacy… notice how there are a whole different set of laws and statutes the judicial system has to protect white criminals… I have never in my life seen a Black person charged with no damn ‘wanton endangerment’ if they killed someone.”




Actor Ron Perlman wrote on Twitter, “Brett Hankinson, one of Breonna Taylor’s murderers, was NOT charged with murder, but with wanton endangerment. This crime is punishable with up to five years in prison. That’s one year for each bullet fired into her sleeping body. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.” Author Bess Kalb said, “It is not wanton endangerment to murder someone. It's murder.” Journalist Michael Harriot noted, “If Breonna Taylor was an actual drug dealer, she would have received more time than the man who murdered her. 1st Deg. Wanton Endangerment is a Class D felony. Other Class D felonies: shoplifting, cultivating marijuana, eavesdropping & stealing mail. Most do no prison time.”




In Kentucky, wanton endangerment is a Class D felony. As per state law, "A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.” A person convicted of a Class D felony faces up to five years in prison for each count.

Taylor was allegedly shot at least eight times by police officials while she was sleeping in her bed. The tragedy took place during a botched police raid as the officers barged unannounced after midnight into the house she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker in Louisville. Authorities have claimed that the midnight search was part of a drug investigation. However, a lawsuit filed by the family states no drug was found at the home. The family's lawyers have said that the main suspect, Jamarcus Glover, was already in police custody at the time of the raid. Neither Taylor nor Walker had any criminal records.

Taylor and Walker thought the house was being broken into and Walker, who has a license to carry, fired his gun in self-defense thinking they were being robbed, the suit said. Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove entered the apartment shortly before 1 am, and the shot fired by Walker struck Mattingley's leg. The officers, in retaliation, fired a hail of over 25 bullets, eight of which struck Taylor who died at the scene. Walker is now facing charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer.