On Wednesday, a Louisville grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankinson on three felony charges of wanton endangerment in the police shooting that killed Breonna Taylor in her home.
All three charges address Hankinson allegedly endangering Taylor’s neighbors by firing into Taylor’s apartment on March 13. Three people were in the neighboring apartment, accounting for the three charges.
Neither Hankinson nor any of the others involved in the shooting were charged in Taylor’s death.
High school sports part of wider Louisville shutdown
The decision prompted widespread backlash and has prompted Jefferson County Public Schools to cancel all high school sports practices and games on Wednesday. The status of Friday’s high school football games has not been decided, JCPS spokesperson Renee Murphy told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Government offices, courts, roads and downtown businesses in Louisville were also closed Wednesday in anticipation of public protest to the grand jury decision.
Mayor Greg Fischer declared a preemptive state of emergency on Tuesday, citing “the potential for civil unrest.”
How the shooting happened
Police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, when they executed a no-knock warrant on her apartment. Taylor was asleep with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when three officers including Hankinson tried to break down the front door. Police suspected Walker on drug chargers. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
Walker told authorities he asked the officers to identify themselves as they broke into the home. He says that they did not, and he opened fire in self-defense. Police returned fire, fatally wounding Taylor. Detective Myles Cosgrove fired 16 shots, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly fired six shots and Hankinson fired 10 shots into the apartment, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
Mattingly and Cosgrove escaped charges altogether. Cameron said on Wednesday that their use of force was “justified.”
The police killing of Taylor has been a focus of this summer’s protests of police brutality and racial injustice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Athletes across sports have repeatedly called for justice for Taylor, and many of them responded to Wednesday’s grand jury decision.
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