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Former Louisville Officer Charged, But Not For Breonna Taylor’s Death

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

A former Louisville Police Officer was indicted by a Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday for wanton endangerment after firing into 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s apartment back in March. 

Officer Brett Hankison, the only officer fired after the March 13 shooting, was indicted with three counts for reckless shooting during a raid and endangering Taylor’s neighbors: a pregnant woman, her husband and their 5-year-old son. Chesey Napper, the pregnant neighbor, filed a lawsuit in May against the Louisville Police Department stating their shots were “blindly fired”.

Hankinson fired 10 rounds into a blind-covered glass patio door as well as other areas of the apartment, which defied the department’s policy requiring a line of sight before shooting. The former officer now faces between one and five years in prison for the class D felony charge and is required to post a $15,000 bond.

The other two officers involved, Sgt. Myles Cosgrove and Detective Jonathan Mattingly, whose rounds fatally shot Taylor, have yet to be fired or arraigned.

“The decision before my office is not to decide if the loss of Breonna Taylor’s life was a tragedy — the answer to that question is unequivocally yes,” Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron said after the jury’s decision was read. “If we simply act on outrage, there is no justice– mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”


Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend who was in the apartment that night, fired one self-defense shot upon hearing what he thought was a break-in, hitting one officer in the thigh. 

According to The New York Times, legal experts predicted no officer would be indicted with Taylor’s death because Walker firing first justified Cosgrove and Mattingly’s use of lethal force. 

“The grand jury’s decision to not indict Sgt. Mattingly or Det. Cosgrove shows that the system worked and that grand jurors recognized and respected the facts of the case,” Kent J. Wicker, Sgt. Mattingly’s attorney said in a statement. 

Last week, Taylor’s mother received a 12 million dollar check from the city of Louisville after suing them for wrongful death. The family’s lawyer and Taylor’s mother both expressed, however, that nothing less than murder charges against Cosgrove, Mattingly and Hankinson would be enough.

This demand has been backed by months of Black Lives Matter protests that have taken up Taylor’s name as a cry for justice. 

black lives matter protests
Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash

Currently, cities are bracing for a spike in protests as Louisville police have started arresting protesters well before the 9 p.m. curfew instilled by Mayor Greg Fischer. 

Marches began in Louisville shortly after the jury’s decision was announced. Hundreds of protesters halted traffic as police began to arrive within minutes. As the march progressed peacefully and loudly, police followed while others stood to the side armed with assault rifles. 

Eventually, the protesters were blocked in the Highlands section of the town by a line of officers in riot gear. The standoff only lasted for a few minutes before police began rushing the protesters and forcing them back. This began “seemingly without any physical provocation” The New York Times reports. 

Things quickly escalated as protesters were arrested, forced into small packs by police and one officer with a loudspeaker announced the protest had been deemed “unlawful.” 

Breonna Taylor’s name and story will continue to move Black Lives Matter demonstrations and marches forward as many are left reeling by the outcome of the hearing. 

“The injustice we’re witnessing at this moment can be sensed throughout the nation,” the NAACP said in a statement. “The justice system failed Breonna Taylor and, as such, failed us.”

black lives matter sign
Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Peyton is a student at American University in Washington, D.C. and is HCAU's Editor in Chief. Majoring in journalism and double minoring in political science and creative writing, Peyton intends on graduating in May 2022. Peyton's goal is to write for a major news organization as a print or online journalist. She also wants to continue traveling, exploring and writing about her experiences. To learn more about her and her work, visit https://peytonbigora.wixsite.com/website .
Hannah Andress

American '21

Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus American. Currently an undergraduate student at American University involved in the Global Scholars program studying International Studies and Arabic. Preferred gender pronouns are she/her/hers. Her interests include national security, women in politics, international human and civil rights, and creating an impact that is long-lasting and sustainable.