Jurors begin deliberations for the trial of an ex-officer in Breonna Taylor raid

After he was accused in firing into an apartment next door, Brett Hankison was arrested on three counts of wanton danger.

Jurors begin deliberations for the trial of an ex-officer in Breonna Taylor raid

LOUISVILLE (Ky.) -- A jury decided Thursday the fate of Breonna Taylor's only officer in the raid that resulted in her death.

Brett Hankison was arrested for three counts of wanton harm . This is a charge that can land you anywhere from one to five years imprisonment.

Hankison's lawyers never challenged the ballistics evidence. Former narcotics detective Hankison was fired by Louisville Police after shooting blindly during the raid. He admitted that he shot through Taylor's bedroom window and patio door, but stated that he did it to save his fellow officers. When asked if he had done anything wrong, he replied " absolutely no."

Hankison, 45 years old, said that he saw Taylor's muzzle flash after police broke through the door. He thought officers were under heavy fire so he quickly turned a corner to spray bullets through the window and door in an attempt to end the threat.

Barbara Maines Whaley, the prosecutor, disputed that Hankison was able to see through Taylor's front door at the time of firing the first shot.

Whaley stated that he was not in the doorway during her closing argument. His wanton conduct may have caused Breonna Taylor one more tragic death. He could have easily multiplied her death three times.

Whaley raised doubts about Hankison's ability to see through side-glass doors and windows that were blinded. She reminded the jury that none other officers testifying to Hankison had ever mentioned him being in the doorway when the gunfire started. The parking lot was filled with all the shells of his weapon, along with a row cars.

Stewart Mathews, defense attorney, said Hankison believed he was doing right in what he perceived to be a gun fight and that he is not a criminal who should be in prison.

"He did exactly what he believed he needed to do in that moment. Mathews stated that this all took place in a very short time.

Hankison's defense was based on the perception that other officers were firing hostile gunfire in the chaos that followed the first shot. He was a 20-year-old veteran K9 officer who was assigned to handle a drug sniffing dog during the raid. He claimed he could see the silhouette of someone "in a firing stance" as Taylor's door opened.

There was no long gun found. Only the handgun of Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker was discovered. Walker told Louisville Police investigators that he believed intruders were breaking into. The shot was fired by Walker and it struck Sgt. John Mattingly and officer Myles cosgrove returned fire. Police fired 32 rounds in total. Walker was not hit.

Although Taylor's murder loomed large over the trial, prosecutors insist in opening statements that the case was not about Taylor's death or the police actions that led to Taylor's March 13th 2020 raid. The jurors were shown one image of Taylor's body, which was barely visible at the end.

Taylor, a 26 year-old emergency medical technician, was settling down to bed when officers broke into her home. She was shot multiple times, and she died on the spot.

Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron's prosecutors requested a grand jury indict Hankison for Endangering Taylor's Neighbors. However, they declined to bring charges against any officers in Taylor's death. Protesters, who had been on the streets for several months, were furious.

Taylor's name was added to George Floyd and Ahmaud Abery, two Black men who were killed in police pursuits -- and became rallying cry during the 2020 racial justice protests.

After several days of questioning, a jury of 10 men was chosen from among a pool of approximately 250 people. The jury was reduced to eight men, and four women before deliberations. The judge refused to reveal details about the jury's race or ethnicity.

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