Louisville police is firing officer Brett Hankison involved in Breonna Taylor shooting
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday that Louisville Metro Police , one of three officers to fire weapons at Breonna Taylor’s apartment, which resulted in her death.
Taylor, 26, was shot by officers at her apartment on March 13 as they entered to serve a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend thought officers were intruders and fired a shot as they entered. Taylor was shot eight times in the ensuing gunfire from officers.
Hankison is accused by the department’s interim chief, Robert Schroeder, of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment, creating a substantial danger of death and serious injury.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder wrote in a Friday letter to Hankison laying out the charges against him. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”
“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department,” he added. “Your conduct demands your termination.”
Specifically, Hankison is accused of violating departmental policies on obedience to rules and regulations and use of deadly force. Schroeder, who wrote that he received the investigation on Tuesday evening, notes Hankison was previously disciplined for reckless conduct.
The other two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment have been placed on administrative reassignment.
Fischer, in a Friday news conference announcing the move, declined further comment.
“Unfortunately, due to a provision in state law that I would very much like to see changed, both the chief and I are precluded from talking about what brought us to this moment or even the timing of this decision,” Fischer said.
Attorneys representing Hankison in a civil lawsuit and the LMPD investigation looking into his conduct did not immediately respond to Courier Journal requests for comment on Friday.
Ryan Nichols, the president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police chapter representing Louisville Metro Police officers, declined to comment at this time.
Hankison in recent weeks in viral social media posts. The allegations are similar, saying that he offered intoxicated women a ride home from bars before sexually assaulting them.
A spokeswoman for LMPD said last week that the department was “looking into the allegations.”
Sam Aguiar, a Louisville-based attorney for Taylor’s family, said Friday about Hankison’s firing: “It’s about damn time.”
Aguiar told The Courier Journal on Friday that Hankison should have been let go “from Day 1.”
“Maybe, finally, the mayor realized that sometimes you just need to do what the best thing is for the city, and since Day 1, the best thing to do for the city (has been) to take this dirty cop off the payroll and off the streets,” he said.
In a court filing last week, Aguiar alleged that Hankison after the shooting took place.
The document also alleges that Hankison “fired more than 20 shots, the majority of which were fired blindly from outside the home through windows which were covered by shades and blinds.” provided by Aguiar show a sliding glass patio door boarded up from the outside. But inside, shards of glass can be seen on the apartment’s carpeted floor, and bullet holes riddle the curtains.
Aguiar said that “following the initial flurry of gunshots, witnesses state that an officer (presumably Hankison) yelled ‘reload’ and then proceeded to fire more into Breonna’s home. Several of Hankison’s rounds went into an adjacent apartment in which a pregnant mother and 5-year-old son were located.”
“There are legitimate concerns regarding LMPD’s propensity to cover up incriminating evidence implicating criminal conduct of Hankison,” Aguiar said in the document.
All three officers were under internal investigation by Louisville Metro Police’s Public Integrity Unit. That investigation has been shared with the FBI and state attorney general, who are expected to conduct additional investigation.
Neither the FBI nor the Kentucky attorney general have announced any criminal charges.
Louisville FBI officials were at Taylor’s apartment on Friday morning executing a search warrant as part of their independent investigation .
Spokesman Tim Beam said the FBI will investigate “all aspects” of Taylor’s death, including interviewing witnesses who have and haven’t already spoken to Louisville Metro Police. They’ll also examine all physical evidence and video evidence to better understand what transpired, he said.
“Today’s action is part of the process,” Beam said.
For months, protesters have been calling for the three officers to be fired and charged in Taylor’s death. The protests intensified last month after death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after a white officer pinned his neck to the ground with his knee in Minneapolis.
Last week, Louisville No-knock warrants do not mean that police don’t announce their presence, but rather that they identify themselves as police only after gaining entrance.
Police were attempting to serve a search warrant with a no-knock clause at Taylor’s apartment as a part of a narcotics investigation when they entered her home, were met by gunfire and killed Taylor while returning fire.
Though officials say the officers knocked and announced their presence, Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t hear anyone say they were police and fired at what he thought were intruders. Neighbors identified by attorneys for Taylor’s family also said they did not hear police announce their presence.
Taylor died in the ensuing gunfire, hit at least eight times. No drugs were recovered from her apartment.