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1 Officer Charged With Wanton Endangerment, 2 Others Not Indicted in Breonna Taylor Case

Illustration for article titled 1 Officer Charged With Wanton Endangerment, 2 Others Not Indicted in Breonna Taylor Case
Photo: Montinique Monroe (Getty Images)

One of the three officers involved in the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., has been indicted on felony charges in connection to Taylor’s death.

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On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted former Louisville Metro police officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment. According to CNN, no charges were announced for Det. Myles Cosgrove or Sgt. John Mattingly—who recently sent an email to his colleagues denouncing the investigation and claiming he and his fellow officers did the “legal, moral and ethical thing that night.”—the other two officers involved in the fatal shooting that began with the botched serving of a drug warrant.

According to the Courier Journal, not only was Hankison not charged with killing Taylor, he was only charged with endangering her neighbors’ lives.

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From the Courier Journal:

The grand jury’s decision Wednesday:

Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was not indicted. Detective Myles Cosgrove was not indicted.

A wanton endangerment charge is a class D felony and carries a penalty of one to five years in prison. The charges read by Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday said that Hankison “wantonly shot a gun” into adjoining Apartment 3.

The occupants of that apartment were identified by initials. None of victims identified in the indictment was BT — Breonna Taylor.

That means the grand jury did not find that Hankison wantonly fired into Taylor’s apartment the night she died or that any of the officers are criminally liable in her death.

During a press conference early Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Daniel Cameron was asked whether the grand jury ever considered manslaughter or reckless homicide charges and if any additional charges for Hankison or the other officers involved.

“The proceedings themselves are secret,” Cameron answered. “But what I will say is that our team walked them through every homicide offense and also presented all the information that was available to the grand jury and then the grand jury was ultimately the one that made the decision about indicting detective Hankinson for wanton endangerment. I think that in terms of what happened in the wee hours of March 13...and what happened that night in the apartment, I think it’s unlikely that any additional prosecutions will come from that event itself.”

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When pressed about whether a case against Mattingly or Cosgrove was even presented to the grand jury, all Cameron would say is that “they will walk through all of the homicide offenses and with that information...and the grand jury decided that officer Hankinson was the one who needed to be indicted.”

Cameron also said that it was inconclusive how many of the shots that killed Taylor were fired from each officer.

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Cameron said repeatedly that he couldn’t answer specifics in regards to the grand jury proceedings, but he expressed condolences to Taylor’s family and empathy for all others affected by Taylor’s death calling it “heartbreaking.”

You can watch Cameron’s press conference here:

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

bassguitarhero
bassguitarhero

I wish we could do better for Breonna Taylor, but without video footage I don’t think the justice system will ever step up. We’ve seen repeatedly over the years that the only thing that will get the justice system to step in (and juries to believe them) is video footage, and there isn’t any for her.

Getting police on wanton reckless endangerment may be worthwhile, that might set a good precedent for other cases. But this alone is more than I expected to see, and I think it’ll be about as much justice as she can get.