Former Louisville police officer Brent Hankinson has been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment in connection to Breonna Taylor’s death. Taylor was killed by police gunfire in March during the execution of a no-knock warrant. Protests over Taylor’s death and the subsequent lack of criminal charges against the officers involved gripped Louisville for months.
Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges against Hankinson on Wednesday afternoon. A warrant has been issued for Hankinson’s arrest. Hankinson was formerly a police officer with the Louisville PD, but he was fired during grand jury proceedings in June. He fired shots during the incident that resulted in Taylor’s death.
Ironically enough, Hankinson’s charges are not in connection with Taylor’s death explicitly. Charges of first-degree wanton endangerment are being brought because his shots tore into the apartments of Taylor’s neighbors.
Taylor’s family has called for nothing less than manslaughter charges to be brought against the officers involved in her shooting death.
The other two officers who were present during the incident, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, have not faced charges. Following the news of Hankinson’s charges, the Taylor family’s attorney, Ben Crump, sent out a tweet critical of the move:
“Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!”
Attorney General Defends Officers
Attorney General Daniel Cameron defended the officers’ use of deadly force. He told reporters at a news conference that the police knocked and identified themselves as police, and claimed a witness can corroborate this.
However, other witnesses have agreed with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who insists the officers did not announce themselves when they broke Taylor’s door down.
The no-knock warrant the police were issuing was in connection to a narcotics case. However, the target of the narcotics probe didn’t live in Taylor’s house. Walker fired on the police as they broke the door down, striking one of the officers in the leg. Officers fired back, striking Taylor as she slept and killing her.
Protests are expected to erupt in Louisville over the light charges. People looking to shop for big-screen TVs and pills for pain relief from osteoarthritis will instead find businesses boarded up in anticipation of a night of likely intense protests.
The Black Lives Matter movement has come to be known for their oft-repeated mantra: “No justice, no peace”.