A Kentucky jury freed the former Lousiville Kentucky police officer who fired the fatal shots during a 2020 drug raid that ended in 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s death.
“The jury on Thursday found Brett Hankison not guilty of three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots that ripped into a neighboring apartment. Hankison was the only police officer charged in the raid that ended with Taylor’s death,” The Guardian reported on Friday.
Hankison, 45, had been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, punishable by one to five years in prison.
On Wendesday, according to Julie Grant of Court TV, reported that Hankison had inf mation that fingered Taylor as a shooter, who started the gunfire, and not an innocent bystander, as earlier depicted.
WAIT. WHAT?! Former Detective Brett Hankison tells the jury Breona Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, told him it was Taylor who fired at police – not Walker. @CourtTV @CourtTVUK pic.twitter.com/xkGD9PI4O7
— Julie Grant (@JulieCourtTV) March 2, 2022
Hankison said in testimony that he had seen a muzzle flash from Taylor’s darkened hallway after police burst through the door and thought officers were under heavy fire.
Hankison said he returned fire.
“The former narcotics detective admitted to firing through Taylor’s patio doors and bedroom window, but said he did so to save his fellow officers. Asked if he did anything wrong that night, he said absolutely not,” the Gaurdian reported on Friday. “He believed the muzzle flash he saw at the front door was from a long rifle or AR-15, and he said he thought his fellow officers were being executed.”
Defense attorney Stewart Mathews told the jury in his closing argument Thursday that Hankison thought he was doing the right thing and is not a criminal who belongs in prison.
“He did what he thought he had to do in that instant. This all happened in such a short span,” Mathews said.
Taylor was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment on March 13, 2020. Her death caused a national outcry among activists who wanted to defund local police departments.
The attorney general of Kentucky David Cameron had prosecutors ask a grand jury to indict Hankison on charges of endangering Taylor’s neighbors, but declined to seek charges against any officers involved in Taylor’s death.
There were many organized protests over Taylor’s death in the late Spring and summer of 2020. Hankison was immediately free to leave the trial of his own will.