Two Years Later: Only Officer Charged In Connection To Breonna Taylor’s Death Found Not Guilty
How the late emergency room technician’s family reacted to the Kentucky jury’s verdict.
Two years have passed since a botched police raid took the life of Breonna Taylor while she lay in bed inside her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13, 2020, Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency room technician, was fatally shot after law enforcement serving a no-knock search warrant at her address battered down the door.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in bed with her at the time. The licensed gun owner later said he never heard officers announce themselves and he fired a single shot from a handgun at who he believed were intruders breaking into the residence.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was struck in the thigh and he and two other Louisville Metro Police officers, Brett Hankison, 45, and Myles Cosgrove, 44, responded by unleashing a total of 32 bullets into the apartment, striking Taylor six times and killing her.
Taylor’s boyfriend was charged with attempted murder and assault in connection to the shooting, but all charges filed against him were permanently dropped in March 2021.
Hankison was fired from his job for shooting “blindly” during the raid, and he was indicted in September 2020 on three counts of wanton endangerment, each of which carries a possible prison sentence of one to five years.
The only officer charged in connection to the deadly incident, Hankison testified on his own behalf during his trial, which began at the end of February. When questioned whether or not he believed he did anything wrong during the raid, he responded: “Absolutely not,” but, he said, Taylor “didn’t need to die that night.”
On March 3, almost exactly two years after Taylor’s death, a Jefferson County jury found Hankison not guilty of all charges against him.
“We respect the jury's verdict,” prosecutor Barbara Maines Whaley said shortly after the decision was read in court.
Tamika Palmer — Taylor’s mother — left the courtroom upon hearing the verdict. Taylor's sister, Juniyah Palmer, posted on social media a short time later: “Lord, this system is a failure!”
“It's like they constantly walk over my sister! I'm so tired of this injustice a-- system! How do ANYBODY find this man not guilty on EVERYTHING?” she wrote.
In a statement, the Louisville Metro Police Department said law enforcement has prioritized “rebuilding trust with the communities” since Taylor’s death.
“LMPD respects the judicial process and also recognizes that there are still potentially more proceedings that may be held on this case and will not provide further comment at this time,” the department noted.