The Louisville Metro Police Department announced Tuesday that it has fired Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in the March shooting death of 26-year-old emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor. In a letter to Hankison tweeted by the department, the Louisville police chief called his conduct "a shock to the conscience."
Taylor was killed on March 13, when officers entered her home looking for illegal drugs. Officials claimed the officers knocked on the door and announced themselves, and only started shooting after they were "immediately met by gunfire" from Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But Taylor's family said in a lawsuit that the officers did not identify themselves, and that Walker — a licensed gun owner — thought someone was trying to break in.
The letter states that Hankison was found to have violated two standard operating procedures: obedience to rules and regulations and use of deadly force.
Hankison violated the first procedure when he "wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds" into Taylor's apartment, Chief of Police Robert Schroeder wrote in the letter, adding, "These rounds created a substantial danger of death and serious injury to Breonna Taylor and the three occupants of the apartment next to Ms. Taylor's."
Schroeder said Hankison also violated the department's use of force procedure when he fired the rounds "without supporting facts that your deadly force was directed at a person against whom posed an immediate threat of danger or serious injury to yourself or others."
"In fact the ten (10) rounds you fired were into a patio door and window which were covered with material that completely prevented you from verifying any person as an immediate threat or more importantly any innocent persons present," he added.
Schroeder also said three of the rounds Hankison fired entered the apartment next to Taylor's, "endangering the three lives in that apartment."
"Based upon my review, these are extreme violations of our policies," Schroeder wrote. "I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion. You have never been trained by the Louisville Metro Police Department to use deadly force in this fashion. Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department."
"I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department," he added. "Your conduct demands your termination."
The three officers involved in the shooting — Hankison, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — had all been placed on administrative reassignment throughout the investigation. None of the officers have been charged, despite widespread protests and calls for arrests.
In the wake of Taylor's death, Louisville passed a ban on "no-knock" warrants, which allow police to enter a home without first announcing their presence.
First published on June 23, 2020 / 7:18 PM
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