A mistrial was dismissed Thursday by a judge in the federal case against former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison, accused of violating the civil rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend who was in the house with her, and their neighbors the night Taylor was killed. a botched police raid in 2020.
Hours earlier, the jury had sent a note to the judge saying it had reached an impasse and had failed to reach a unanimous decision.
The judge then ordered the jury to resume deliberations on what is known as an Allen charge. An Allen charge occurs when the judge asks the jury to resume deliberations to reach a unanimous decision after the jury tells the court it is deadlocked.
After deliberating further, the jury sent a note to the court stating that some jurors had completed their deliberations and decided that they could not reasonably and honestly reach a verdict.
The judge then informed the jury that they could reach a verdict on only one of the two counts if they were unanimous on that verdict.
But after further deliberations, the jury remained deadlocked on both counts. Prosecutors sought to issue another charge against Allen, but the judge said that because of the jury’s diligence and the limited number of questions asked in court, it implied the jury knew the relevant parts of the case and that another charge against Allen was unnecessary.
Prosecutors asked the judge to offer the jury the transcript the jury had previously requested. But the judge said she didn’t want to give them the full transcript because they don’t know what the jury is looking for and the court has already told them the transcript isn’t available.
The jury began deliberating Monday.
Hankison was indicted on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, both of which constitute civil rights violations in August 2022. According to court documents, he was accused of willfully depriving Taylor and Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, of their constitutional right not to be subject to unreasonable seizures, which includes the right not to be subject to excessive use of force by a police officer during a seizure.
According to court transcripts, he was also accused of willfully depriving Taylor’s neighbors, Chelsey Napper, Cody Etherton and Zayden Flournoy, of their right to be free from deprivation of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to be safe from a police officer. the use by an officer of unjustified force that shocks the conscience.
During his court testimony, Hankison said he did not have a clear target when he fired 10 shots into the side wall of Taylor’s apartment in March 2020. The bullets also passed through Taylor’s apartment. ‘a neighbour.
“I couldn’t,” Hankison responded when the prosecution asked him if he could see the outline of a person through the blinds when he fired. He added that he couldn’t see a real person or a weapon, according to court documents.
Hankison claimed to have seen muzzle flashes coming from inside the house and believed the threat was moving down the hallway and advancing on the officers from Hankison’s position outside, according to court transcripts.
“You weren’t there,” Hankison told prosecutors. “You don’t know what I saw…”
Hankison said he now knew the muzzle flashes came from his fellow officers who were standing outside the door to the apartment’s main entrance, according to court documents. Hankison said that at the time he believed his fellow officers were being executed.
The prosecutor said Hankison’s spent shell casings were not found near the sidewalk near the house where Hankison claimed to be when he fired. They were found behind a gray truck in the parking lot, according to court transcripts.
The prosecution referred to the testimony of the former sergeant. John Mattingly and Etherton, Taylor’s neighbor, said there was a pause after the officers in the doorway finished shooting and Hankison began firing his 10 rounds from the side of the apartment, according to court documents.
The defense said the prosecution took Mattingly and Etherton’s statements out of context and did not have the evidence to argue that there was a pause between the shooting of Hankison’s colleagues and his own shots. fire, according to court transcripts. Hankison said he stopped shooting after he noticed there were no more muzzle flashes inside the apartment. He testified that he thought he had neutralized the threat.
The prosecution argued that if the officers had stopped shooting before Hankison started, he would have had no muzzle so he could see and aim, making his shooting unjustified, according to court documents.
The federal trial was the second attempt to convict Hankison for his actions when Taylor was killed by police after breaking down his apartment door on March 13, 2020, around 12:45 a.m. Hankison was acquitted of several felony charges. gratuitous danger at a state trial. Last year. None of his bullets hit anyone.
ABC News’ Nadine El-Bawab, Alexander Mallin, Jack Date and Amanda Su contributed to this report.
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