Written By: Hannah Yale
The officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor have not been charged for her death. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Officer Brett Hankinson, 44, was indicted with three counts of wanton endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors. During the raid on Taylor’s apartment, Hankinson fired into the sliding glass patio door and window which were covered with blinds, violating a department policy that requires officers to have a line of sight when firing. He was not charged in relation to Taylor’s death. Hankinson was also the only one of the three officers fired after the incident. Sgt. Jon Mattingly, 47, and Myles Cosgrove, 42, were not removed from the force, nor were they charged for Taylor’s murder. At a news conference following the decision, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron claimed, “our investigation showed, and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon” by Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker.
On March 13, when 26 year-old Breonna Taylor was shot and killed during an illegal and unannounced police raid on her apartment. Taylor’s apartment was targeted in a “no-knock warrant” for a narcotics investigation that centered ten miles away from her home. The subject of the investigation that led to the warrant and the raid was not Taylor herself, but a man she had dated previously, who once sent a package to her apartment. No drugs or illicit money were seized during the raid, and it remains disputed whether Taylor was involved in any illegal activity.
Mattingly, Hankinson and Cosgrove dressed in plain clothes and used a battering ram to forcefully enter Taylor’s apartment at 1 a.m. Taylor was asleep inside. In response to the noise from the break-in, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who had a license to carry firearms, fired one shot at the front door. Walker claimed he believed he was firing at home intruders. According to the police, Walker’s shot struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the femoral artery and he sustained an injury in his leg. Witnesses and attorneys for Taylor’s family said that the officers fired more than 20 rounds during the raid. Attorney Daniel Cameron claimed that Taylor was shot six times, and an FBI analysis determined that the fatal shot was fired by Cosgrove— who faced no charges for Taylor’s death.
Taylor was an Emergency Room Technician at Jewish East Medical Center in Louisville and a Practicing Registered Nurse for Norton Healthcare. Taylor’s sister told NBC News that Taylor had begun filling out paperwork to attend fall classes at Ivy Tech Community College and that she was debating whether to move on to working in a neonatal intensive care unit or a trauma unit. Breonna Taylor was adored by her friends, family and community. Her death prompted hundreds of protests around the country in correlation with the Black Lives Matter Movement, and her name has become a rallying cry.