Brett Hankison, the only officer charged in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor, was acquitted of endangering her neighbors, The New York Times reports.
Following months of outcry, prosecutors previously declined to charge any Louisville police officers with Taylor’s killing but charged Hankison, whose bullets did not strike anyone, with endangering Taylor’s neighbors while they slept after finding his bullets in Taylor’s wall.
Jurors found Hankison not guilty of three counts of wanton endangerment after three hours of deliberations.
Despite the verdict, Hankison could still face legal scrutiny.
The FBI has been investigating Taylor’s death since May 2020 and the Justice Department launched a sweeping investigation into the Louisville police department.
The Justice Department said after the verdict that it will “determine what, if any, federal charges are warranted.”
Lawyer knocks verdict:
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Taylor’s mother, said the verdict is another sign that police can kill with impunity.
“The lack of accountability showcased in every aspect of Breonna’s killing speaks to how much more work there is to be done before we can say our justice system is fair and our system of policing is protective of people of color,” Crump said.
Crump called to ban no-knock warrants that allow police to raid homes without announcing themselves.
Neighbors’ lawyer slams decision:
Jeff Sexton, a lawyer for Taylor’s neighbors, also slammed the jury’s “knee-jerk, emotional verdict.”
Sexton argued that jury could not have adequately considered the evidence in just three hours.
If they had, he said, “there’s no way that that jury approves of a cop firing wildly, after midnight, into the side of an apartment building.”
Police were at Taylor’s home to search for her ex-boyfriend, who they accused of selling drugs. When cops burst into the home, Taylor’s current boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired at the officers, believing they were intruders. Two officers returned fire, hitting Taylor.