Attorneys for Brett Hankison, the only cop to be charged in the killing of Breonna Taylor, are emulating the defense for Amhaud Arbery’s killers by asking a judge to ban journalists from the courtroom during jury selection.
Hankinson is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into Taylor’s neighbors’ apartments during the barrage of police gunfire that killed Taylor, a 26-year-old medical technician during a botched Louisville Police raid in March 2020. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are scheduled to begin juror interviews next week.
But the defense filed a motion last Friday asking the judge in the case, Ann Bailey Smith, to keep media out of the courtroom during jury selection, a tactic that was also attempted unsuccessfully by defense attorneys for the three men convicted last year of murdering Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga.
But attorneys for three news outlets — The Associated Press, WDRB News and The Courier Journal — filed motions arguing the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled jury selection must be conducted in public.
“When you have such a high-profile case, people need to have confidence that a fair and impartial jury has been chosen,” said Michael Abate, one of the attorneys representing the media outlets. “It’s extremely important for people to have ultimate confidence in the verdict.”
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office, which is prosecuting Hankison, also objected to the ban request, arguing there are less restrictive measures that could be taken.
An investigation determined that none of Hankinson’s bullets actually hit Taylor. Instead the deadly shots actually came from Myles Cosgrove, a former Louisville cop who, along with Hankison and another officer, were all fired for their roles in the shooting.
Ironically, Cosgrove wasn’t charged for his role by Kentucky Attorney General Cameron. Three grand jurors who listened to evidence in the case later attempted to have Cameron impeached from office, alleging he misused the process and lied to the public about the evidence he presented.
Cosgrove tried to get his old job back last month but a hearing board told him to kick rocks.
While you process all that, here’s a reminder that the raid that led to Taylor’s killing never should have happened because cops lied to obtain the no-knock warrant and the man they were looking for was already in jail before they knocked down Taylor’s door. The city of Louisville has since banned the use of no-knock warrants, in which police were allowed to enter a residence without announcing themselves beforehand.
Taylor died largely as a result of this tactic. Although cops swore they identified themselves–even though they had a no-knock warrant–before breaking down her door, neighbors said they never heard police announce themselves. Once they were inside, Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire believing a home invasion was in progress, and cops shot back, killing Taylor.