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Brett Hankison trial: Jury deadlocked in federal trial of former Louisville Metro police officer

Timothy D. Easley/Pool/AP/File

Brett Hankison, former Louisville Metro Police officer.


A judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the civil rights trial of Brett Hankison, the former Louisville Metro Police Department detective federally charged in the March 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, 26, after that the jury reported it was deadlocked. The Courier Journal reported.

The newspaper reports that the judge declared a mistrial after jurors informed the court they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

“As things stand, the assistant attorneys at the US Department of Justice have indicated that they intend to retry Brett Hankison in this case,” a lawyer for the Taylor family, Lonita Baker, said Thursday before courthouse. at CNN affiliate WLKY.

Prosecutors alleged that Hankison used unjustified force the night Taylor was killed and violated the civil rights of her, her boyfriend and her neighbors.

Hankison denied the charges, including two federal counts of deprivation of rights under color of law: one count for Taylor and one count for three of his neighbors.

The charges stem from the botched raid in which Louisville Metro Police officers fatally shot Taylor, an emergency room technician, shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020.

According to the federal indictment, Hankison fired several shots into Taylor’s home, some of which went through a wall she shared with her neighbors, when there was “no longer a lawful objective.” justifying the use of deadly force.

That summer, Taylor’s death, along with the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, sparked widespread protests and global awareness of police violence and racial inequality.

Taylor was at home with her boyfriend, while a woman, a man and a 3-year-old boy were in the apartment next door at the time of the incident, according to court documents.

CNN has contacted lawyers and court officials to confirm details of the legal proceedings.

Hankison was one of four current and former Louisville police officers who were indicted in 2022 on federal civil rights violations, including detectives who worked on the search warrant.

The charges were the first federal charges filed against any of the officers involved in the botched raid. They were filed after a state court jury acquitted Hankison in March 2022 of three counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the raid. He was the only one charged at the state level.

Following his acquittal, the Louisville Metro Police Department said in a statement: “The events of March 13, 2020 are still painful for many, and since then, LMPD has prioritized rebuilding trust with communities that we serve. »

Prosecutors said Hankison “deliberately used excessive and unconstitutional force … when he fired his service weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and a covered glass door,” according to the writ. charge.

For both counts against him, Hankison’s offenses involved “use of a dangerous weapon and attempted murder,” the indictment states.

Hankison’s lawyers told the jury he was trying to save the other officers in the house by shooting through the windows at what he thought was a person armed with an AR rifle, CNN affiliate WAVE reported.

After the officers broke through Taylor’s door and entered her home, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, fired a gun he legally owned and struck one of the officers.

Hankison said he believed a shooting was taking place, not realizing that most of the shooting was coming from police, and although he could not see through the covered windows, he saw flashes and fired toward the area where he thought the shooter was, WLKY reported.

Taylor’s death was one of several cases that highlighted the dangers of no-knock warrants, and some police departments abandoned the practice in the years that followed.

In March 2020, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge approved five search warrants for locations linked to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, including Taylor’s home.

Hankison, along with other officers, forced open the front door of the home, where she was sleeping with Walker.

Taylor was shot multiple times. Walker was not injured. “Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker said in a 911 call.

Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree assault, before prosecutors decided to drop the charges.

Hankison was fired from the police department in June 2020.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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