Questioning was supposed to begin Tuesday for potential jurors in the criminal trial of former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison. He was charged with three counts of felony wanton endangerment for firing shots during the raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment in March 2020.
According to the Associated Press, Hankinson was unexpectedly scheduled for a minor surgery and had the right to observe the jury selection process. It will now begin Thursday.
The trial is expected to begin on Feb. 22 and Hankinson has already pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As previously reported, no officers were charged in the raid that ultimately killed the 26-year-old emergency medical technician. The charges Hankinson is facing are actually for the bullets that entered a neighbor’s apartment.
The raid was carried out in the middle of the night using a no-knock warrant obtained with misleading information involving Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover. Taylor was shot multiple times after her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was there that fateful night, fired a warning shot toward the front door when police barged in. Walker was accused and charged with allegedly shooting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Those charges were later dropped.
According to WFPL News Louisville, Judge Ann Bailey Smith ruled last week that media will be allowed in the courtroom after Hankinson’s lawyer, Stew Mathews, argued that media presence will negatively impact his client’s ability to have a free trial. He also argued for a change in venue, citing protests that followed Taylor’s death last year.
“My fear is that if the media doesn’t grow tired of the mundane [jury selection process] and they start reporting about the responses of prospective jurors, I worry those reports are going to taint or otherwise influence what the upcoming jurors are going to hear and see,” Mathews said, according to WFPL. “That defeats the entire purpose.”
Smith decided to ban cameras from the courtroom and instruct the media pool not to release names or private information about potential jurors.