A Jefferson County grand jury indicted one of three Louisville police officers involved in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor on March 13 of this year. Taylor, 26, was fatally shot when police exchanged fire with her boyfriend while executing a search warrant at her apartment.
One Louisville officer, Brett Hankinson, was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. The other two officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.
In anticipation of the grand jury announcement, the Louisville Metro Police Dept. had declared a state of emergency, canceling vacations and other time off for police officers. Mayor Greg Fischer invoked a 72-hour curfew, effective Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., and the Kentucky National Guard has been activated to quell anticipated riots and looting in the wake of the announcement.
Judge Annie O’Connell issued an arrest warrant for Hankinson and a $15,000 bond. No other charges are expected today.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron held a press conference following the announcement. “I urge everyone listening today to not lose sight of the fact that a life has been lost, a tragedy under any circumstances,” he told reporters. “My job as a special prosecutor in this case was to put emotions aside and investigate the facts to determine if criminal violations of state law resulted in the loss of Miss Taylor’s life.”
“The sequence of events from March 13 had to be pieced together through ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews,” Cameron added.
Further, he stated that the search was not executed as a no-knock raid. “Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announce their presence at the apartment.”
“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us, because our investigation shows, and the grand jury agreed: Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning deadly fire, after having been fired upon,” he explained.
Cameron, a Republican and the first black attorney general in Kentucky history, warned that “There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who have never lived in Kentucky to try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t.”
“I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Miss Taylor,” said an emotional Cameron. “I understand that… I understand that as a black man, how painful this is, which is why it was so incredibly important to make sure we did everything we could possibly do to uncover all the facts.”
“There was not a day that people in this office did not go to sleep thinking about this case… and getting to the truth in this case,” he said, adding that the law “is not intended to respond to every sorrow and grief, but my heart breaks at the loss of Miss Taylor.”
“My mother, if something was to happen to me, would find it very hard and I’ve seen that pain on [Taylor’s mother’s] face and I’ve seen that in the community,” he said.
Cameron told reporters he has been working with partners in the community and will establish a task force to evaluate best practices for executing warrants.
“It is unlikely that there will be any additional prosecutions that come from that event itself.” He added that he has no immediate plans to release the full grand jury report.
You can watch the press conference here:
Press Conference Regarding the Results of the Grand Jury
Posted by Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday, September 23, 2020
This article has been updated to include additional information.