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Grand jury indicts former Louisville cop Brett Hankison in shooting that killed Breonna Taylor

A memorial to Breonna Taylor, placed in Jefferson Square Park, is photographed in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on September 23, 2020 as the city anticipates of the results of a grand jury inquiry into the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot by the Louisville Metro Police Department in her apartment earlier this year.

Jeff Dean | AFP | Getty Images

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former Louisville, Kentucky, cop, Sgt. Brett Hankison, on wanton endangerment charges related to the police raid and shooting that led to the death of a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, last March in her own home.

Two other cops involved in the raid on Taylor’s home, Officer Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, were not criminally charged by the grand jury. 

And Hankison, who fired 10 shots during the raid, escaped being hit with more serious felony charges related to homicide from the grand jury. 

Judge Annie O’Connell said a warrant will be issued for Hankison’s arrest. She set bail at $15,000.

The death of the 26-year-old Taylor, who was hit by six shots, along with the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis last spring, catalyzed the protest-driven movement to reform police organizations that spread nationwide this summer.

Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.

People wait for the decision in the criminal case against police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by police in her apartment, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. September 23, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Hankison was charged with three counts of that crime. The multiple counts relate to the fact that the shots he fired went into Taylor’s apartment and into two other apartments.

The Louisville Police Department in June terminated Hankison’s employment, saying he had displayed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

In anticipation of the grand jury’s findings, Louisville’s mayor imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. for coming days.

Taylor, who was an emergency medical technician, was at home with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, on the evening of March 13 when Louisville cops raided the residence and fired multiple shots.

Police were executing a search warrant for drugs or money related to an investigation involving Taylor’s former boyfriend.

Cops say they fired shots after they were shot at as they went into the house. Taylor’s relatives say Walker fired to defend himself because he believed someone was breaking into the house.

The two other cops who participated in the raid, Cosgrove and Mattingly, were placed on administrative leave.

So was the detective who had requested the warrant, Joshua Jaynes.

The city of Louisville last week agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. The city did not admit any wrongdoing as part of that agreement.

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