Grand Jury Indicts One Officer In Breonna Taylor Death

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 26: People march in the streets during a demonstration on June 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march honored Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro P... MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 26: People march in the streets during a demonstration on June 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march honored Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 23, 2020 1:29 p.m.

A grand jury in the case of Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting by Louisville police on Wednesday indicted one officer on three counts of wanton endangerment.

Although former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment by the grand jury, the two other officers involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — were not indicted.

In explaining the charges, Judge Annie O’Connell said that Hankison “wantonly shot a gun” into adjoining Apartment 3. The occupants of that apartment, which were identified by initials, did not include “BT” for Taylor.

The bond for Hankinson was set at $15,000.

The indictment comes six months after Taylor’s death, which has become a rallying cry for protesters demanding justice in the case.

Ben Crump, a lawyer representing Taylor’s family, called Hankison’s indictment as “outrageous and offensive.”

In a press conference shortly after the grand jury’s indictment announcement, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron began by expressing his condolences to Taylor’s family.

“Every day this family wakes up to the realization that someone they loved is no longer with them,” Cameron said. “There’s nothing I can offer today to take away the grief and heartache this family is experiencing as a result of losing a child.”

Cameron said the other two officers who weren’t indicted by the grand jury were “justified in their use of force.”

Cameron said Cosgrove’s and Mattingly’s actions on the night of Taylor death were justified because Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired first.

“Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron said.

After announcing that the grand jury voted to return an indictment for three felony counts of wanton endangerment against Hankison, Cameron said that if convicted, he “can serve up to five years for each count.”

“My office is prepared to prove these charges at trial,” Cameron said. “However, it’s important to note he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Cameron went on to vow that his office will “vigorously prosecute” the criminal charges against Hankison and that he was creating “a task force to review the process for securing securing and executing search warrants in Kentucky.” Cameron said that the task force will include members of the public, law enforcement, elected officials, defense attorneys and representatives from the judiciary.

Last week, Louisville reached a settlement with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, in a lawsuit against the three officers in the case by agreeing to pay her $12 million and enact police reforms.

The grand jury’s decision comes after Cameron’s office, which has been investigating Taylor’s fatal shooting since May, presented its findings to the jury earlier this week.

Ahead of the charging decision, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer implemented a 72-hour curfew, effective Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m in anticipation of heightened unrest. LMPD interim Chief Robert Schroeder said that Kentucky National Guard members would be in the city following Cameron’s press conference, but did not specify how many guardsmembers would be deployed.

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