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One officer charged in fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor

Two other officers directly involved in the March 13 incident were not charged.

Updated: September 23, 2020 - 3:57pm

One of three Louisville, Ky., police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor was charged Wednesday in connection with the case.

A warrant has been issued for ex-officer Brett Hankison's arrest, and bail was set at $15,000. Two other officers involved in the shooting, which occurred in March during a drug raid, were not charged.

The charges, which were announced by a grand jury, indict Hankison on three counts of felony wanton endangerment for the March 13 incident. 

According to Kentucky law, wanton endangerment means an individually acted with a conscious disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Taylor, a 26-year old black woman, was fatally shot five times in her apartment in Louisville when several police officers entered her home using no-knock warrants obtained for a drug-investigation, the subject of which did not reside at Taylor's address. 

Officers involved in the incident say they identified themselves before entering Taylor's apartment. The gun fire started when police entered the apartment and Taylor's boyfriend fired a handgun, purportedly thinking apartment was being broken into.

During his address, AG Cameron called the case "emotional" and "gut-wrenching," saying the loss of Taylor's life is a tragedy. He explained that the job of his office was to examine the facts to determine whether criminal actions and intent are what led to her untimely death. Cameron noted additionally that there is an ongoing FBI investigation into potential violations of federal law and he is "committed to being a part of the healing process."

He alluded to assembling a task force the job of which it will be to determine whether process changes are necessary when obtaining a search warrant. He said that he does not expect further criminal charges to be issued as a result of the case.

For more than six months, Louisville residents, and observers across the nation have been waiting to see whether Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first African American to hold the position, will impose charges on Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove, and former Detective Brett Hankison, all of whom reportedly fired their weapons that evening. 

Kentucky State Police cars and orange cones were already in place Wednesday morning as the state's largest city prepared for the long-awaited announcement. In advance of the charges, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency for the city.

Barricades have been erected surrounding Jefferson Square Park, where protests over Taylor's death took place during the summer months, and federal office buildings, including the Louisville courthouse, have been closed for the remainder of the week. 

"Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement. At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe," said the mayor.

Louisville Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder announced a 72-hour countywide curfew beginning at 9 pm this evening. Schroeder also affirmed that the Kentucky National Guard has been activated. 

Last week, the Taylor family was awarded a $12 million settlement by the state of Kentucky, which also pledged to implement several police reforms as part of the deal. 

 

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