One police officer to face criminal charges over shooting of Breonna Taylor

One police officer to face criminal charges over shooting of Breonna Taylor
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One police officer has been indicted on criminal charges over the shooting of an unarmed black woman in the US.

Breonna Taylor, 26, a hospital emergency room technician, was shot multiple times by police on March 13.

Taylor, 26, was gunned down in front of her boyfriend after police in Louisville, Kentucky, forced their way into her apartment with a so-called “no knock” warrant.

The warrant had been issued in relations to a drugs investigation but no narcotics were found in Ms Taylor’s home.

Former detective Brett Hankison has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment – a charge that carries a penalty of just 1 to 5 years in prison.

The charges against Hankinson relate to him firing shots into neighbouring homes and not the fatal wounding of Ms Taylor. He is now being held on a £12,000 bond.

Neither the grand jury nor the presiding judge elaborated on the charges.

Breonna Taylor

No other charges have been filed, including against Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who also participated in the raid.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell read the grand jury’s decision in open court.

Taylor’s death, alongside that of George Floyd – a black man who died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck – sparked protests demanding the end of excessive force by law enforcement.

Ahead of the announcement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 72-hour curfew for the city beginning at 9 p.m., with exceptions for those going to work or to seek medical treatment.

Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, poses for a portrait in front of a mural of her daughter

Brett Hankison

In June, the Louisville Metro Police Department fired Hankison.

Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder, who is retiring on Oct. 1, wrote in the termination notice that Hankisonm “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired” 10 rounds into Taylor’s home.

The department reassigned the two other officers who fired weapons in Taylor’s apartment to administrative duties.

Louisville police obtained the warrant to enter Taylor’s apartment from a judge as part of an investigation into a drug ring at another house elsewhere in Louisville.

They told the judge that they believed that one of the men suspected of selling drugs had used Taylor’s apartment to receive packages.

Federal Protective Service Police officers sit outside Louisville’s Federal Building

Taylor had previously dated a suspected drug seller but had severed ties with him, according to her family.

She and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed when police broke down her door with a battering ram shortly after midnight.

Fearing intruders, Walker fired a gun, injuring Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh, according to the police account.

Mattingly, Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, a detective, began firing their guns. Five bullets pierced Taylor.

Police are on high alert following the grand jury decision

Walker has been charged with attempted murder. His lawyer has said there is evidence the bullet in Mattingly’s thigh was shot by one of his colleagues, not by Walker.

Images of Taylor have become a familiar sight at the daily protests against police violence in cities across the United States.

Last month, the influential actress and television mogul Oprah Winfrey featured an image of Taylor on the cover of O, the Oprah Magazine, calling for prosecution of the police who killed her.

Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit, Mayor Fischer announced.

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