Mistrial declared in case of ex-officer charged in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting

November 17, 2023

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings declared a mistrial Thursday in the federal trial of former Louisville, Kentucky police officer Brett Hankison after a jury told her it was deadlocked.

Hankison was facing federal civil rights charges related to Taylor’s death.

Taylor was killed in a case of mistaken identity in a botched police raid in March 13, 2020 when police, issuing a no-knock warrant, shot at killed the 26-year-old who was in bed. The warrant was for a different address, and when police kicked in Taylor’s door, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, grabbed his legally-owned gun. In response police fired shots, killing Taylor. 

Hankison alone fired 10 bullets through a window and sliding door that were covered with blinds in Taylor’s apartment.

In March of this year, Attorney General Merrick Garland released a report related to Taylor’s death on Louisville Metro police and the LMPD, finding “deficiencies” in the departments.

Upon its release, Garland said members of the Louisville police community had told him “Breonna Taylor was a symptom of problems that we have had for years.” Garland added, “The Justice Department’s findings, and the report that we are releasing today, bear that out.”

But the jury in Hankinson’s trial, which had been deliberating since Monday, said it could not reach a verdict on the civil rights charges against the former officer.

During the trial, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asserted that the police did knock and announced their presence, though his testimony was countered by Taylor’s neighbors and her boyfriend, who said they heard no announcement and no knocks. 

Following the shooting, Taylor remained alive for 20 minutes but received no medical attention, according to police dispatch logs.

Hankison faced the federal trial after he was acquitted last year by a state jury for three charges of felony wanton endangerment stemming from the raid.

He was the only officer to face state charges, but he was one of four indicted on federal civil rights charges by the Department of Justice following a two-year investigation into Taylor’s death. None have been charged with homicide or manslaughter. 

One of the other officers, Kelly Goodlett, pleaded guilty last year.

Two other officers, Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany, have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting a trial.

PHOTO: Breonna Taylor memorial in Louisville, August 2020

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