No charges in death of Breonna Taylor; officer indicted for endangering neighbors

More than six months after emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police in her Louisville home, a grand jury has indicted one officer in relation to shooting into her neighbor’s apartment — but no officers were charged for their role in Taylor’s death. Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment and two other officers who opened fire were not indicted.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the results of the grand jury proceedings in Frankfort following months of rallies, with protesters demanding that the officers involved in Taylor’s death be charged. Two of the officers who opened fire, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were justified in their actions, Cameron said. The officers were previously placed on leave, while Hankison has been fired. 

The death of the 26-year-old Black woman is among several police shootings that have galvanized a nationwide push for police reform and racial justice. Louisville has been on edge for days awaiting a charging decision in the case, with rumors swirling but no clear indication of when it would come. 

Protesters took to the streets in Louisville after the decision was announced, chanting, “No justice, no peace.” Some were seen crying, reports CBS affiliate WLKY.

According to Cameron, a witness said officers both knocked and announced their presence before they raided Taylor’s home March 13 in a search linked to a drug investigation, meaning the warrant was not served as “no knock.” He said when no one answered, officers breached the door. Mattingly, he said, was the only officer to enter the apartment. He said Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired a shot that hit Mattingly. Officers returned fire and six bullets hit Taylor, one of which was fatal, Cameron said.

Walker, a licensed gun owner, has said police did not announce themselves and that he fired in self-defense because he thought someone was breaking in.  

Hankison fired 10 shots from outside, with some bullets hitting the neighboring apartment, where there was a man, a child and pregnant woman. None of his bullets struck Taylor, Cameron said. The charges allege Hankison endangered Taylor’s neighbors, but Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force when they opened fire because Walker had fired his gun. 

“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by [Mattingly] and [Cosgrove] was justified to protect themselves,” Cameron said. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.”  

Mattingly fired six times and Cosgrove fired 16 times, Cameron said. Cameron said two different ballistics reports with differing conclusions left it unclear which officer fired the shot that killed Taylor. 

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