Breonna Taylor case: accused officer pleads not guilty to gratuitous endangerment charges

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Brett Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June for his actions in the raid on Taylor’s apartment. Hankison’s attorney asked the judge to let Hankison keep his gun as he saw death threats online and the judge did not grant the request.

“No, I won’t,” said Judge Ann Bailey Smith of the Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Hankison will not be allowed to keep guns, which is a condition of his $ 15,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 28.

No officer who took part in the March 13 raid is charged with Taylor’s actual murder. A grand jury instead leveled three counts of gratuitous endangerment against the ex-detective for indiscriminately firing 10 shots at Taylor’s home, State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said. last week.

The announcement sparked days of protests in several American cities. Protesters and other critics of the grand jury’s decision wanted tougher charges. They also denounced the decision not to indict other officers involved.

Although two Louisville cops were gunned down on the first night of protests after Cameron’s announcement, Mayor Greg Fischer said Monday he was ending the city’s curfew after days of peaceful protests. Downtown barriers and traffic restrictions will remain in place and the curfew could be reassessed in the coming days, he said.

Charges against Hankison

Hankison shot through “a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window,” according to a statement from Cameron’s office, and some of his bullets pierced the wall of a nearby apartment, where three people, including a child and a pregnant woman were alive, the attorney general’s statement said.

The three counts are for endangering the three people in the next apartment, according to Cameron’s office, which further alleges that Hankison showed “extreme indifference to human life.”

“There is no conclusive evidence that bullets fired from Detective Hankison’s weapon hit Ms. Taylor,” the statement read.

An accused “is guilty of gratuitous endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he willfully engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or bodily injury. serious for another person, ”according to Kentucky Law.

Undue endangerment is a Class D felony, Kentucky’s lowest class of felony. If convicted of all three counts, Hankison faces between three and 15 years in prison.

The former detective plans to plead not guilty on Monday, defense lawyer Stew Matthews told CNN, saying the evidence did not support the charges.

Hankison was released from Shelby County Detention Center on Wednesday after posting $ 15,000 bail.

Lowering

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, were in their apartment when Hankison and other officers arrived to serve a search warrant in connection with a drug investigation.

Police say they identified themselves before hitting the front door, and Cameron said a neighbor corroborated the story. Other neighbors say they did not hear officers identify themselves as police officers, but some neighbors told CNN they slept and did not wake up until they heard gunshots.

When officers kicked in the door, Walker fired, hitting Sgt. John Mattingly in the leg, allege the police. Walker said through his lawyer that he didn’t realize it was the police entering his apartment.

In addition to the 10 shots Hankison fired, Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove fired 22 rounds, six of which hit Taylor, Cameron said, explaining their use of force was justified because Walker fired first.

Walker was initially charged with attempted murder and assault, but the charges were dropped.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, criticized the grand jury’s decision, saying Hankison and other officers should face murder charges.

“How ironic and typical that the only charges in this case were for shots fired in the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were laid for the shots fired in the black neighbor’s apartment or in Breonna’s residence, ”Crump said in a statement. .

“This amounts to the most blatant disrespect for black people, especially black women, killed by police in America, and it is indefensible no matter how Attorney General Daniel Cameron seeks to justify it. “

Lines of inquiry still open

Hankison was fired months ago, acting LMPD leader Robert Schroeder telling the detective in a June 23 letter: “I find your conduct shocking the conscience. ”

Hankison is appealing his dismissal.

In addition to an FBI civil rights investigation, the LMPD Professional Standards Unit is investigating the actions of Cosgrove, Hankison, Mattingly, and detectives Joshua Jaynes, Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles, spokesperson of LMPD, Sgt. Lamont Washington told CNN.

Schroeder put Jaynes on administrative leave in June, citing questions about how the search warrant for Taylor’s house was approved. Jaynes asked for the search warrant.

It’s unclear if the FBI and inside probes could lead to more charges. The Taylor family are demanding the release of the grand jury transcripts, and Walker is suing the LMPD, which could provide more details on the officers’ actions that night.

CNN’s Anna Sturla contributed to this report.

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