Breonna Taylor's Neighbor Says Police Were 'Reckless' In Raid At Trial Of Cop Accused Of 'Wanton Endangerment'

Cody Etherton’s pregnant girlfriend and 5-year-old son were asleep when gunfire struck their home.

One of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors testified Wednesday (Feb. 23) that Louisville, Ky., police officers were “reckless” and “unorganized” during their botched raid of Taylor’s apartment, in which the 26-year-old EMT worker was fatally shot by officers.

Cody Etherton, 29, was the first prosecution witness called to testify in the trial of former police officer Brett Hankison, who is the only officer charged in connection with the March 13, 2020 raid.

However, he’s not on trial for Taylor’s death but on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Hankison, who pleaded not guilty, is accused of blindly firing multiple shots that went into the apartment of Taylor's neighbor.

Officers had forced their way into Taylor’s home during a narcotics raid. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said that he feared a home invasion and fired his gun in self-defense.

Hankison and officers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove immediately returned fire, fatally striking Taylor, who is Black, and igniting nationwide protest.

"This case is about Cody and his partner, Chelsey [Napper], who was seven months pregnant at the time, and their 5-year-old son who was sleeping in the bedroom closest to the front door when the bullets ripped through the apartment and out their sliding glass door into the night," prosecutor Barbara Whaley said Wednesday in her opening statement, according to NBC News. "There was no search warrant for Cody and Chelsey's apartment.”

On the witness stand, Etherton recalled hearing a “loud boom” that awoke him and Napper. Thinking it was a home invasion, Etherton jumped out of bed and walked down the hallway, as "debris started going past my head and face" from gunfire. Etherton stated that he heard the police announce themselves only after the gunfire ended, which the police dispute.

Etherton testified that he went outside and noticed his sliding back patio door was shattered and officers shining lights in his direction. That led him to believe that the police thought his patio door was Taylor's.

"I could put two and two together … I was like they think my backdoor is her backdoor. That’s what I thought, which to me is just very unorganized," he testified. "To me, a professional well-trained officer, they should have had the floorplans. They should have had the blueprints. They didn’t even know whose backdoor that was. They didn’t even know who lived there. So, to me that kind of upset me. It was just reckless to me."

RELATED: BET Remembers Breonna Taylor

RELATED: New Louisville Exhibit Celebrates The Life of Breonna Taylor

In his opening remarks, defense attorney Stewart Mathews argued that Hankison’s actions were justified because he was trying to save the lives of fellow officers amid a chaotic scene.

"I think, ladies and gentlemen, after you've heard all the evidence, you're going to determine that Brett Hankison was justified in what he did and everything he did on that scene out there before, during, and after the shooting occurred was logical, was reasonable, was justified and made total sense," NBC quoted Mattews.

Several officers also took the witness stand on Wednesday and testified that they initially obtained a no-knock warrant that was later changed to a knock-and-announce warrant, according to NBC. Taylor’s apartment was considered low-risk, St. Kyle Meany stated.

The detective who knocked down Taylor’s apartment door, officer Mike Nobles, testified that the team yelled “police” and someone inside responded, “who is it.”

Meanwhile, Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, planned to attend the trial even though it will not give her the closure and justice she wants for her daughter, CNN reported. "I just feel like my appearance should be seen and felt," she said.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.