The federal trial of former Louisville police officer Bett Hankison began on Nov 13. According to the Associated Press, a jury deliberated for over an hour on Monday as federal prosecutors grilled Hankison about his involvement in the botched raid that ultimately took the life of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. He has been accused of violating Taylor’s civil rights.
During his testimony Monday, Hankison said that he fired bullets into Taylor’s window and sliding door as Louisville officers conducted a drug search of the young EMS worker’s apartment in March 2020. Hankson testified that he did not see a shooter when he opened fire, but he claimed that he saw “muzzle flashes from gunfire” erupting from inside the apartment, the Associated Press noted.
Unaware that the police were conducting a raid, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker III fired his gun once at the door out of self-defense as Hankison and at least seven other officers forced entry into the apartment. Sadly, Taylor was shot and killed when officers fired off 32 rounds inside her apartment.
The former police officer, who was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) for shooting “blindly” during the chaotic drug raid, claimed that he shot into Taylor’s apartment to “stop the threat” of Walker’s gun and to “defend” himself and the lives of his team.
In 2022, Hankison was acquitted by a jury during his felony wanton endangerment trial after a judge deemed that he was innocent of endangering one of Taylor’s neighbors during the violent drug investigation. The charge was not connected to Taylor’s fatal shooting. However, on Monday’s trial, federal prosecutors argued that Hankison’s actions played a role in the EMS worker’s demise. Prosecutor Michael Songer claimed that the former Louisville officer “dishonored” his team and that he was aware “firing blindly was wrong” on the day of the shooting.
At the end of the first day of the intense civil rights trial, the former officer’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, pled for the jury to consider the “chaos” Hankison was “surrounded with” as he tried to “protect the lives of his fellow officers and himself.”
As previously reported, investigators discovered that a bogus no-knock warrant was used during the tragic shooting of Breonna Taylor in 2020.
In August 2022, four of the officers involved in the fatal shooting were federally charged with violating Taylor’s civil rights during the botched raid. Kentucky detectives Kelly Goodlett and Joshua Jaynes were charged with falsifying the affidavit used to conduct the reckless search. In a separate indictment, Brett Hankison was charged with using excessive force while executing the search warrant.
In March, the Justice Department (DOJ) released a scathing 90-page report detailing the grim and discriminatory law enforcement tactics that have long plagued LMPD. The two-year investigation was spawned by Taylor’s fatal shooting.
Breonna Taylor Civil Rights Case: A Timeline Of Events In The Trial was originally published on newsone.com
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