During a press conference on Wednesday (September 23), Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that none of the three officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s shooting would be charged with her death and only one officer will face charges for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment on the night of the raid.
A grand jury reportedly returned three counts of “wanton endangerment” in the first degree against former officer Brett Hankinson in connection with the fatal shooting of Taylor. A $15,000 cash bond has also been attached to the charges. The other two officers, Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not charged. They remain on the force, while Hankinson was fired in July.
Now, Taylor’s attorneys are speaking out. Via Twitter, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said the charges were “outrageous and offensive.”
“Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive!” wrote Crump. “If Brett Hankison's behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor's apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!”
Here is Crump’s full statement:
“This is outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory. It’s yet another example of no accountability for the genocide of persons of color by white police officers. With all we know about Breonna Taylor’s killing, how could a fair and just system result in today’s decision? Her killing was criminal on so many levels: An illegal warrant obtained by perjury. Breaking into a home without announcing, despite instructions to execute a warrant that required it. More than 30 gunshots fired, many of which were aimed at Breonna while she was on the ground. Many others fired blindly into every room of her home. A documented and clear cover-up, and the death of an unarmed Black woman who posed no threat and who was living her best life. Yet here we are, without justice for Breonna, her family and the Black community.
“If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder. How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence. This amounts to the most egregious disrespect of Black people, especially Black women, killed by police in America, and it’s indefensible, regardless of how Attorney General Daniel Cameron seeks to justify it.
“The rallying cries that have been echoing throughout the nation have been once again ignored by a justice system that claims to serve the people. But when a justice system only acts in the best interest of the most privileged and whitest among us, it has failed. For the sake of Breonna Taylor, for the sake of justice, and for the sake of all Americans, law enforcement agencies and their representatives throughout the country need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Is this who you are? Is this the example you want to set for the rest of the world and for future generations?
“Today’s news falls far short of what constitutes justice. But by no means does it define this movement or this moment in our history. The Grand Jury may have denied Breonna justice, but this decision cannot take away her legacy as a loving, vibrant young Black woman who served on the front lines in the midst of a devastating pandemic. It is our hope that through the FBI’s investigation, we will finally get the justice for Breonna that the Grand Jury refused her today.
“Make no mistake, we will keep fighting this fight in Breonna’s memory, and we will never stop saying her name.”
Sam Agular, another member of the Taylor family’s legal team, pointed out that property damage meant more to the grand jury than the actual loss of Taylor’s life.
“Way to really rub it in. Three counts for the shots into the apartment of the white neighbors, but no counts for the shots into the apartment of the black neighbors upstairs above Breonna’s. Let alone everything else you got wrong,” he wrote via Facebook. “I’m so sorry Breonna. And Tamika. And Juniyah. And Kenny. And Bianca. And Tahasha. And everyone. This isn’t right and I should’ve done more.”
It has been nearly 200 days since Breonna Taylor was killed in her own apartment by Louisville police officers.
After midnight on March 13, Hankison, Cosgrove and Mattingly executed a botched “no-knock” warrant at Taylor's apartment (although it was announced today by the Kentucky Attorney General that the warrant was not a no-knock warrant and the police did announce their presence prior to barging into the apartment) which she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. Believing they were intruders, Walker fired his weapon and gunfire from the officers ensued. The 26-year old Taylor was struck six times and died.
The police raid found no drugs at Taylor’s apartment and she was not the target of the investigation. Rather, it was her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover who police were after. Glover had been arrested earlier that same night.
(AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)