Officer Brett Hankison Indicted on Three Counts of Wanton Endangerment in the Murder of Breonna Taylor; Other Officers Not Charged

Officers Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove

A Jefferson County grand jury has indicted one of three Louisville police officers in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

It was announced Wednesday:

  • Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
  • Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was not indicted.
  • Detective Myles Cosgrove was not indicted.

via Courier-Journal:

The announcement comes after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office presented its findings to the grand jury earlier this week. His team has been investigating the Taylor shooting since May.

In anticipation of Cameron’s announcement, Mayor Greg Fischer invoked a 72-hour curfew, effective Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Last week, Fischer announced the city agreed to a $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family that includes more than a dozen police reforms.

The uncertainty swirling around the decision on possible criminal charges in Taylor’s death has drawn both local and international attention as protesters have marched and chanted on Louisville’s streets for 119 consecutive days.

Protesters in Louisville and supporters across the U.S. have called for “justice for Breonna” and other Black Americans, such as George Floyd in Minneapolis, who have been killed by police. 

Taylor’s death and the ensuing protests have been showcased in news reports and in public statements by celebrities, athletes, sports leagues and politicians from Joe Biden to Beyonce to LeBron James, all calling for justice and the arrest of the officers who the unarmed Louisville woman.

In the past week, the tension escalated to an unnerving pitch as national network crews arrived in Louisville and rumors spread wildly that a decision was imminent, only to be proven wrong again and again. 

Wednesday’s announcement comes as images of a restricted downtown Louisville have flashed across the world. 

Downtown has taken on the appearance of a city under siege, with plywood nailed across business fronts and concrete barriers cordoning off a 25-block perimeter.

Louisville Metro Police interim Chief Robert Schroeder said the restrictions, long planned amid “unprecedented times,” were meant to protect public safety, property, protesters and avoid conflicts between drivers and demonstrators.

Protesters will still be able to access downtown on foot to demonstrate and retain their First Amendment rights, city officials said.

If you, like us, didn’t know what wanton endangerment is — it’s listed as the following:

In Kentucky, a person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, someone wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another.

It’s punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. This is NOT justice.

Per further explanation, the three counts of wanton endangerment were all for firing into neighboring apartments — not Breonna Taylor’s. The initials of the residents of those apartments were “C.D.” “T.M” and “Z.F.”

Officer Hankison is facing charges for his reckless shooting that night, but not for shooting at or killing Breonna Taylor.

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