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Officers Will Not Face Murder Charges in Killing of Breonna Taylor

Updated: Sep 24, 2020 10:07
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Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13 — 194 days later, a grand jury determined only one of the officers involved should be indicted. 

Officer Brett Hankison will face multiple counts of wanton endangerment, according to Jefferson County Judge Annie O’Connell. Two other officers, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, the grand jury reviewed will walk away without facing any charges. 

Nobody on the force will fully answer for Taylor’s murder late at night inside an apartment she shared with her sister.

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was not a suspect in any case on the night when plain clothes officers executed a “no-knock” warrant related to a narcotics investigation and broke down her apartment door. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, heard commotion inside the apartment and said he never heard police announce themselves. Some neighbor accounts support Walker’s statement, though police claim otherwise.

Breonna Taylor was 26 years old when she was killed inside her apartment by police on March 13, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Breonna Taylor Facebook page)

Walker shot at and struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, thinking he was an intruder.

The other two officers shot more than 20 rounds into the apartment in response and though they did not hit Walker, the unarmed Taylor suffered several gunshot wounds and died in her hallway.

There were no drugs were found in a later search of the residence.

The warrant obtained for Taylor’s apartment was part of a larger investigation. Her home was targeted because of a prior relationship with Jarmarcus Glover, who was a suspect in the investigation. 

Taylor herself was considered a “soft target” — the real priority was Glover, who they arrested in a different location, also on March 13. It is widely asserted that police had arrested Glover before they executed the warrant on Taylor’s apartment, meaning they already had their suspect and there was no need to bash down her door in the wee hours.

Taylor and Walker, her current boyfriend were in bed watching a movie when they heard a bang at the door and nobody responded when she yelled, “Who is it?” Walker grabbed his gun and they went to see who was there when, by Walker’s account, the door came flying off its hinges. Walker told police he was “scared to death.” He shot once, not knowing he was firing at police.

Woman holds sign in protest against killing of Breonna Taylor. (Photo by Rasande Tyskar)

Neither Taylor nor Walker had any prior drug offense histories — the warrant was literally a means to find Glover, the ex-boyfriend, who did not live there and who they likely already had in custody.

The city of Louisville is under state of emergency and curfew was established in anticipation of the grand jury announcement.

The grand jury found the officers were justified in opening fire on the apartment. Many in the community and across the country do not see any justification in killing an innocent and unarmed woman inside her home.

Officials in Louisville are bracing for public backlash. 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.