Jury selection begins in Breonna Taylor case

Facing trial is Brett Hankison, one of three Louisville, Kentucky police officers who shot and killed Taylor in her own home in 2020.

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Jury selection has begun in the trial of Brett Hankison, one of three Louisville, Kentucky police officers who fired dozens of shots into the home of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, resulting in her death. 

Hankison was the only officer charged in the reckless no-knock raid on March 13, 2020, and he was subsequently terminated from the Louisville Police Department. Taylor was shot multiple times and died in her home, where she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. 

Questioning of potential jurors begins Tuesday for the trial of a former Kentucky police officer involved in a botched raid that killed Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville emergency medical technician, in March 2020. (Photo: Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

Taylor’s death sparked nationwide protests, particularly because no officer was charged in connection with her death because they were firing back at Walker, who believed intruders were attempting to break in. Hankison’s wanton endangerment charges were for the bullets that entered the home of Taylor’s neighbor. 

According to the Associated Press, Hankison faces one to five years in prison for each of the three counts. 

The trial is expected to take several weeks. The AP notes that two other former Louisville officers who participated in the deadly no-knock raid, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, may testify. 

Amber Brown, who is a social justice activist in the city, says the trial “is not justice for Breonna.” 

“Nothing that’s going on in that courtroom has anything really to do with Breonna,” Brown said. “He’s not being charged with the bullets that went into her body.”

Famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump noted on Friday that the lack of justice for Taylor is “a blight on our criminal justice system.”

“Hankison is on trial, not for the bullets that struck and killed Breonna, but for the bullets that endangered other residents in the apartment complex,” Crump said. “These charges of wanton endangerment should be the lowest among many to result from that tragic night, not the highest and sole among them.”

As previously reported, an internal report released by the Professional Standards Unit of the Louisville Police Department found the Kentucky officers should not have fired into Taylor’s home. “They took a total of thirty-two shots when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot,” Sgt. Andrew Meyer wrote in a report dated Dec. 4 and obtained by ABC News. “This is how the wrong person was shot and killed.”

Taylor’s death has been a clarion call for banning no-knock warrants across the country. The city of Louisville did so just three months after her killing, and the state of Kentucky passed a partial ban on no-knock warrants last month. Its new law only permits no-knock warrants if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the crime being investigated “would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.”

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