Breonna Taylor

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Jury acquits only Louisville officer charged in Breonna Taylor raid
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Daniel Trotta
Publishing date:Mar 03, 2022 • 12 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison poses for a booking photograph at Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville, Ky., Sept. 23, 2020.
Former Louisville police detective Brett Hankison poses for a booking photograph at Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville, Ky., Sept. 23, 2020. PHOTO BY SHELBY COUNTY DETENTION CENTER /Handout via REUTERS
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A Kentucky jury on Thursday acquitted a white former detective of endangering neighbours of Breonna Taylor during a botched raid that killed the Black woman in her home, clearing law enforcement of all criminal liability in a case that rocked the United States in 2020.

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Detective Brett Hankison, 45, whose stray bullets hit a neighbouring apartment in the city of Louisville during the execution of a “no knock” search warrant after midnight, was the only officer charged in the case, with wanton endangerment.

Hankison could be heard sobbing behind his face mask as the verdict was read three times, one for each of the occupants of the neighbouring apartment, according a Court TV reporter who was in the courtroom.

Relatives of Taylor who were in the gallery also wept, the reporter said.

The jury deliberated for about three hours after hearing closing arguments on Thursday at the conclusion of a one-week trial at Jefferson County Circuit Court.

The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was unarmed, was one in a trio of cases that fueled a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence two years ago, when the country was reeling from the still-new coronavirus pandemic.

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The other cases resulted in guilty verdicts for the murders of two Black men in 2020: George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.

Those convictions had offered a measure of justice after Black activists and victims have said their protests against racial violence were largely ignored before the advent of cellphone video.

In this case, a grand jury cleared the two white officers who shot Taylor but charged Hankison for endangering neighbours in the adjacent apartment. A grand juror on the case later said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron only presented the wanton endangerment charges against Hankison to the grand jury.

That meant the only trial to result from her death hinged on whether a police officer was justified in firing his weapon upon hearing a barrage of gunfire.

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“This trial was not even for the bullets that killed Taylor.

No matter what the outcome may have been, justice for Breonna was never an option. We must demand more,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said on Twitter.

Police wanted to search the home in connection with a drug investigation in which Taylor’s ex-boyfriend was a suspect.

After police broke down Taylor’s door, her new boyfriend, fearing a break-in and saying he did not hear police identify themselves, fired one shot from and handgun that wounded an officer. That officer and another returned fire, shooting 22 times.

In tearful testimony on Wednesday, Hankison said he mistakenly believed his fellow officers were coming under heavy fire. He shot 10 times from outside the apartment.

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“I think it was absolutely the fact that he was doing his job as a police officer,” defence attorney Stew Mathews told reporters after the verdict, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. “The jury felt like, you go out and perform your duty and your brother officer gets shot, you’ve got a right to defend yourself.”

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, left without commenting, the Courier Journal said. Taylor’s family in 2020 won a $12 million wrongful death settlement from the city of Louisville.

Taylor’s death on March 13, 2020, at first drew little national attention but was thrust into prominence after a Minneapolis police officer killed Floyd by pinning a knee to his neck on May 25, 2020.

Around then, video surfaced showing the February 2020 shooting death of Arbery after he was chased by three white men.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd last year and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.

The three civilians charged in Arbery’s death were convicted of murder in a state trial last year.
 

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Feds charge 4 cops in fatal Breonna Taylor raid
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Dylan Lovan
Publishing date:Aug 04, 2022 • 20 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department announced civil rights charges Thursday against four Louisville police officers over the drug raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whose fatal shooting contributed to the racial justice protests that rocked the U.S. in the spring and summer of 2020.


The charges are another effort to hold law enforcement accountable for the killing of the 26-year-old medical worker after one of the officers was acquitted of state charges earlier this year.

Federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Taylor’s family, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in announcing the charges.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” he said.

The charges are against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett, along with Sgt. Kyle Meany.

Taylor was shot to death by Louisville officers who had knocked down her door while executing the search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. He was acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville.

Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Taylor’s house. He was fired in January 2021 by former Louisville Police interim chief Yvette Gentry for violating department standards in the preparation of a search warrant execution and for being “untruthful” in the Taylor warrant.
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