Breonna Taylor: No manslaughter charge for Brett Hankison, two other officers walk free as mayor imposes curfew
Former Louisville officer Hankison was charged with 'wanton endangerment'
A grand jury, on Wednesday, September 23, indicted one police officer 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 was presented against former officer Brett Hankison to a judge. The charge against him is of 'wanton endangerment'. Hankison was fired from his job after nationwide outrage over Taylor's death.
The grand jury or the presiding judge did not elaborate on the charges against the former officer. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, meanwhile, scheduled a news conference in the capital, Frankfort, to discuss the decision made by the grand jury. Protesters across the nation have consistently pressured him to act swiftly on the case considering the AG had previously refused to set up a deadline for his decision.
Mayor Greg Fischer, in a press conference on Wednesday, September 23 afternoon, also announced he will impose a 72-hour curfew in the city, from 9 pm to 6.30 am. The mayor, while addressing reporters, said: "No matter what Attorney General Cameron announces, I urge everyone to commit, once again, to a peaceful, lawful response."
The mayor is also mobilizing the National Guard in anticipation of major unrest in the wake of the latest decision. "Our goal with these steps is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights," Mayor Fischer said in a statement. "At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe."
The major update in the case comes days after Lousiville officials settled the case with the Taylor family and agreed to pay $12 million. The move came amid an ongoing protest against police brutality across the country, where protesters are calling for the arrest of Taylor's killers, justice for George Floyd and several other victims.
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.