Nation: 1 of 3 Officers Charged in the Death of Breonna Taylor

2 min read The three white officers involved in the death of a 26 year old black woman named Breonna Taylor were not charged by a Kentucky jury.

Crowd at protest

Photo Credit: (Clay Banks) The crowd kneels at the Black Lives Matter protest in Washington DC 6/6/2020.

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By Wesley Wallace| wwallace5@radford.edu

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday, Sept. 23, that they charged former officer Brett Hankison with “wanton endangerment” for firing his gun into Breonna Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

The announcement comes amid social outrage and anger as protesters and social activists across the country demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old Black woman who was fatally shot by police officers during a no-knock warrant raid on her apartment.

The Kentucky grand jury indicted Hankison, Wednesday, on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. According to an article from Fox News, Hankison was “released on $15,000 bail.” The decision made by the jury came about because Hankison fired multiple bullets into an apartment building where a pregnant woman, a child, and a man lived.

The apartment unit was directly next to Taylor’s home.

According to an article by CNN, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not charged with killing Taylor in her home.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not charged with killing Taylor in her home.

According to Kentucky law, a person can be charged with wanton endangerment if they commit an act that displays “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Considering that wanton endangerment is the lowest-level felony offense in Kentucky, Hankison could receive 15 years in jail since each count of wanton endangerment is five years.

Taylor’s relatives, legal team, and supporters have been rallying to charge all three white officers for homicide or manslaughter.

The grand jury, who reviewed the evidence in the case, rejected charges of homicide and manslaughter.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Attorney General Daniel Cameron directly addressed Taylor’s family by saying, “There is nothing I can offer them today to take away the grief and heartache as a result of losing a child, a niece, a sister, and a friend.”

Attorney General Cameron stated that a ballistics report showed that six bullets had hit Taylor, but only one was fatal. Attorney General Cameron also said that it was not clear whether the bullets fired from Hankison’s gun hit Taylor.

Attorney General Cameron said they were both “justified to protect themselves” and that the justification “bars us from pursuing criminal charges.”

When it pertains to Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, Attorney General Cameron said they were both “justified to protect themselves” and that the justification “bars us from pursuing criminal charges.”

Benjamin Crump, attorney for Taylor’s family, reacted to the jury decision by tweeting, “12 of Breonna Taylor’s neighbors NEVER heard police announce themselves before breaking down her door. Did they get a voice at the Grand Jury proceedings? @KYOAG [Attorney General Daniel Cameron], if you have nothing to hide, release the transcripts, so we know the full truth of what was presented!”