Louisville, KY – A Jefferson County jury found the only Louisville police officer charged in connection with the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment not guilty on Thursday.
The jury, made up of eight men and four women, deliberated for about three hours after a five-day trial before they acquitted former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) Officer Brett Hankison on all charges, CNN reported.
Hankison had been facing three wanton endangerment charges for shooting into the occupied apartment next door during the raid that left Taylor dead.
Officers opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot one of the officers who had made entry into the apartment.
“Justice was done; the verdict was proper and we’re thrilled,” Hankison’s attorney, Stew Mathews, said after the verdict was announced, according to WDRB.
“He was doing his job as a police officer,” Mathews said. “The jury felt like you go out and perform your duty and your brother officer gets shot, you have a right to defend yourself. Simple as that.”
Taylor was killed during the March 13, 2020 execution of a “no-knock” search warrant on her home by members of LMPD Criminal Interdiction Division.
The plan was to serve the search warrant at the same time other members of the Criminal Interdiction Division were serving an arrest warrant for Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, at his home on Elliott Avenue, 10 miles away, the Courier-Journal reported.
LMPD suspected Glover had been selling drugs out of his residence on Elliott Avenue but using Taylor’s address to receive mail, store drugs, or stash money he made selling drugs.
Leaked investigative documents revealed jailhouse phone conversations that proved Taylor was managing Glover’s money for him while he was incarcerated on drug charges.
LMPD Detective Joshua Jaynes said in an affidavit summarizing the investigation for the warrants that officers had seen Glover go into Taylor apartment in January of 2020 and leave with a “suspected USPS package in his right hand.”
The veracity of the statements used to obtain the warrants was later brought into question.
LMPD Lieutenant Ted Eidem, the commander of the Public Integrity Unit, said three plainclothes detectives served the narcotics investigation’s “no-knock” search warrant at 12:40 a.m. on March 13, 2020.
A “no-knock” warrant means police are not required to wait before entering a property.
However, Lt. Eidem said the LMPD detectives who served the warrant at Taylor’s apartment knocked and announced themselves anyway.
“Officers knocked on the door several times and announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant,” he told reporters at a press conference the afternoon of March 13. “The officers forced entry into the exterior door and were immediately met by gunfire. Sergeant [John] Mattingly sustained a gunshot wound and returned fire.”
Lt. Eidem said the other two detectives with Sgt. Mattingly also returned fire.
“The other officers were able to move Sgt. Mattingly and themselves to safety,” he explained. “The officers then gave verbal commands and the man later identified as Kenneth Walker exited the residence and surrendered to officers.”
Lt. Eidem said officers found Taylor unresponsive inside the apartment. She died from multiple gunshot wounds.
On Sept. 23, 2020, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Hankison on three felony charges of wanton endangerment for shots that he fired during the raid on Taylor’s apartment that entered the neighbor’s apartment next door, the Courier Journal reported.
But they didn’t bring charges against the officers who killed Taylor.
The former police sergeant had already been terminated by the police department and the chief had previously said Officer Hankison had not followed department policy.