One of the three Louisville police officers who executed a search warrant in March that resulted in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor is being fired, the city’s Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday (June 19).
Officer Brett Hankison will lose his job over the shooting death of the 26-year-old EMT, according to reports.
"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, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Hankison, along with officers Myles Cosgrove, and Jonathan Mattingly were assigned to a March 13 drug raid in which they were seeking to arrest a suspect they believed lived in the apartment Taylor and boyfriend Kenneth Williams occupied, police executed a “no-knock” warrant and burst through the door, according to a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family.
However, when they came inside, the couple believed intruders were breaking in and Williams grabbed his own firearm. The officers opened fire and one of the officers was wounded. Taylor was shot to death. The suspect they were looking for was already in custody.
Louisville police chief Steve Conrad was fired as a result of the shooting. "This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said at the time, according to CNN. "Accordingly, I have relieved Steve Conrad of his duties as chief of Louisville Metro Police Department."
Interim police chief Robert Schroeder blasted Hankison’s actions related to Taylor’s death, saying he “blindly” fired 10 shots into the apartment, putting the lives of its occupants at risk.
"I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," Schroeder wrote in a letter to Hankison, according to the Courier-Journal. "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."
It is unclear if Mattingly and Cosgrove will also lose their jobs. None of the officers have been charged with Taylor’s killing.
Taylor’s death is one that has touched off months of global demonstrations over death of Black people at the hands of police officers, or because of racial profiling.
In February, Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Brunswick, Georgia man was shot and killed when he was chased by two white men, father and son Greg and Travis McMichael who spotted him jogging and thought he was a burglar. They, along with another man, William Bryan have been charged in connection with his death.
On May 25, George Floyd, a Minneapolis man, died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck while trying to apprehend him. Chauvin was fired and charged with second degree murder. Three other officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged as accessories.
Most recently, on June 12, Rayshard Brooks, was shot and killed by Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who had engaged him for DUI when he had passed out in a Wendy’s drive-thru line. At first calm, their interaction turned into a scuffle and ended with Brooks taking a taser from one of the two officers present and pointing it at them while he ran. Rolfe fired at him, killing him. He was fired the next day and now stands charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.
In an interview with BET.com, Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer said that her daughter enjoyed her job as an EMT and was dedicated to saving lives and caring for people. She expressed that she feels that no-knock warrants should be banned.
“I’m pretty sure that no one is ever prepared for this,” she said. “Breonna’s death broke us. She was a big part of our lives. I hope that this never happens to anyone else. No one should ever have to go through this. No-knock warrants should be banned. It makes any sense and body cams should always be used. This is how you avoid stuff like this.”