Thursday, October 29, 2020

Breonna Taylor: Ex-officer Brett Hankison pleads not guilty to endangerment

Former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison poses for a booking photograph at Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville, Kentucky, U.S. September 23, 2020 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Brett Hankison was fired from the police service in June

The only US police officer charged in connection with a raid that resulted in the fatal shooting of a black woman at her home has pleaded not guilty.

Former detective Brett Hankison denied three counts of wanton endangerment at a Kentucky court hearing on Monday.

Emergency medicine worker Breonna Taylor was shot as officers stormed her Louisville home on 13 March.

Last week a grand jury decided that no officer should face direct criminal charges over her death.

The charges faced by Mr Hankison relate to shots fired into adjoining apartments during the narcotics raid.

Under Kentucky law, someone is guilty of wanton endangerment if they commit an act that shows “an extreme indifference to the value of human life”.

Ms Taylor’s death and the subsequent decision not to charge any officer with murder or manslaughter have led to repeated Black Lives Matter protests in Louisville.

Mr Hankison was charged last week Wednesday and released on bail. He is next due to appear in court on 28 October for a pre-trial hearing, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Breonna Taylor, 26, was an emergency medical technician

If found guilty he faces a five-year sentence for each of the three counts.

Mr Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after investigators found he had “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds” during the raid, according to his termination letter.

Two other officers who took part in the raid – Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove – were reassigned to administrative duties.

Ms Taylor’s relatives and their legal team have asked a judge to release the transcript of the grand jury.

The 26-year-old was shot eight times when officers entered her apartment in Louisville on 13 March.

They were executing a search warrant as part of a drugs investigation, but no drugs were found in the property.

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