Jury Deliberating Federal Civil Rights Charges Against Ex-Cop in Breonna Taylor Case

Brett Hankison, who fired shots the night she was killed, faces life in prison if convicted.

Following a week of trial, a jury is currently deliberating on the fate of a former Louisville Metro police officer who is facing federal charges for firing shots the night Breonna Taylor died, local Louisville station WKLY reports.

Brett Hankison was accused of unconstitutionally excessive force for firing 10 shots into both Taylor's apartment and a neighboring unit that had a couple and their child on March 13, 2020. Two years later in August 2022, Hankison was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hankison admitted that he couldn't see through the covered windows before firing his weapon on the last day of the trial,  He also added that he saw muzzle flashes and shot toward the hallway area where he thought the shooter was located, according to WLKY..

He stated that there was a shootout happening and most of the shots were coming from other police officers on the scene

During the trial, Hankison’s lawyers argued that their client was trying to save his fellow officers by shooting through the covered windows. He thought he saw a person brandishing an AR-15 rifle.

In closing arguments, prosecutors described Hankison’s actions as “unfathomably dangerous”, and asked jurors to find him guilty of violating the rights of Taylor, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker II, as well as her neighbors Chelsey Napper, Cody Etherton, and their small child.

Federal Civil Rights Trial Of Officer Linked To Breonna Taylor Shooting Begins

"Officers can't shoot if they can't tell (whether) there are innocent people in the line of fire," federal prosecutor Michael Songer said. "But the defendant did.

In the immediate aftermath of Taylor’s death, no officer was charged for their involvement in the fatal incident. Hankison was later charged with “three counts of wanton endangerment charges for firing into the neighboring unit.”

He was acquitted of those charges after three hours of deliberations by a jury in March 2022.

Several months later, the DOJ levied federal charges at Hankinson, Joshua Jaynes, Sgt. Kyle Meany and Kelly Goodlett for putting people in danger and their actions that  "resulted in Ms. Taylor's death."

Goodlett pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate Taylor’s civil rights by assisting in falsifying an affidavit for the home search. The other two officers are awaiting trial.

The original 16-person jury is comprised of one Black man, six white women, and nine white men.

If convicted on the federal charges, Hankinson faces life in federal prison.

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