Brett Hankison, a former Louisville officer, testified Wednesday that nothing was wrong when Breonna Taylor died in a police raid of her apartment.
For shooting into their apartment in March 2020, Cody Etherton and his partner Chelsey Npper were put on trial. In connection with a narcotics probe, police raided the apartment of his neighbor.
Police shot Taylor, a 26 year-old Black woman, after her boyfriend fired a gun in fear of a home invasion.
Hankison was dismissed from the Louisville Metro Police Department June 2020, three months after the shooting. A grand jury indicted him on three counts of first-degree wanton harm for the bullets that were found in Etherton's apartment. He has pleaded guilty.
The grand jury did not indict Hankison or any other undercover narcotics officers that opened fire inside the house. with the death of Taylor.
Hankison seemed to be getting emotional Wednesday as the recounted details of the raid. After police entered Taylor's apartment, he described seeing "a muzzle flash".
"The muzzle flash wasn't one I would normally identify as a handgun muzzle Flash," he said. He explained to the court that it was a large fire muzzle flash I could see right in front of me." "The muzzle flash then illuminated that hallway.
Hankison asked the judge to allow him to stand and show what he saw. He crouching in a shooting position, he stated: "So I could clearly see in the hallway...a subject. I couldn't tell if it were male or female. I was in a shooting posture at the ready."
Hankison stated that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly fell to the ground. Although police claimed Taylor's boyfriend had shot Mattingly in his leg, lawyers representing the boyfriend refute these claims.
Hankison stated that he believed his co-accused were going to be executed at one point during his testimony.
He said, "So, I fired through the sliding glass doors and it did not stop the threat."
According to the former officer, he fired 10 shots total; five through the sliding door and five through a bedroom windows. He said that the gunfire lasted anywhere from five to ten seconds.
Hankison responded that he was shaken by the news of bullets entering a neighboring apartment.
He said that he later found out that Ms. Napper had testified that they had a small child there, and that it was him who told the court.
Hankison was later asked whether he believed he had done anything wrong. Hankison replied, "Absolutely no."
He said that the incident was a tragedy and that he felt this way about it all.
He said, "It's not something that had to happen."
Taylor was able to say that Taylor didn't have to die that night. Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother stormed out of courtroom.
On Tuesday, the prosecution resigned and defense officials resigned after Hankison's testimony. Expect closing arguments and deliberations to take place on Thursday.
Etherton, 29 years old, testified earlier in the trial that police acted recklessly on the night of raid. As bullets rang out, Etherton's sliding patio door was smashed.
He stated to the court that he believed officers thought Taylor was Taylor's patio door.
"I could combine two and two... I thought, 'They think that my backdoor is hers.' He said that he thought the same thing. To me, it was very chaotic. "A professional, well-trained officer like me would have the floor plans. They should have the blueprints. They didn't know who the backdoor was. They didn't even know the name of the person who lived there. That kind of upset me. To me, it was reckless."
Napper, who was also pregnant at the time, said that it "sounded as if somebody set off an alarm or something" outside their apartment.
She said, "It was so frightening and crazy that I didn't understand what was happening."
The chaos did not cause any injuries to the couple or their 5-year old son.
Two other officers from Louisville were also fired following the raid. Two other officers from Louisville were fired after the raid. They were Detectives Joshua Jaynes and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who had applied for the search warrant during the raid.
A letter from then-Chief Yvettegentry stated that Cosgrove was fired for violating standard operating procedures for deadly force. He also failed to activate his body-worn cam during the raid.
The letter stated that Jaynes was fired because of two violations in his department relating to his work in securing the search warrant.
Mattingly has been retired from the police station.
Jaynes, Cosgrove and Mattingly were not charged with anything related to the raid. Taylor's death was not the subject of any charges.