Mistrial Declared in Federal Case Against Ex-Officer Brett Hankison in Breonna Taylor Raid

Former Louisville Police Officer Brett Hankison.

A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the case against Brett Hankison, a former Louisville police officer charged with civil rights violations related to the 2020 raid that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor. The jury, which began deliberations on Monday, failed to reach a verdict in the case against Hankison, who faced two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.

The indictment, filed in August 2022, accused Hankison of willfully depriving Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, of their constitutional right against unreasonable seizures. This includes protection from unreasonable force by a police officer. Additionally, Hankison was charged with violating the rights of Taylor’s neighbors, Chelsey Napper, Cody Etherton, and Zayden Flournoy, by unjustified force that “shocks the conscience.”

During the trial, Hankison testified that he fired 10 rounds into the side wall of Taylor’s apartment without a clear target. He admitted to not seeing a person or weapon through the window blinds when he discharged his firearm. Hankison believed he was responding to a threat moving up the hallway, based on muzzle flashes he saw, which he later realized were from officers at the apartment’s front entrance.

The prosecution challenged Hankison’s account, noting discrepancies in the location of his spent shell casings and the timing of his shots compared to those of other officers. Witnesses, including Sgt. John Mattingly and neighbor Etherton, indicated a pause between the initial shots by officers at the door and Hankison’s subsequent gunfire. The defense contended that these testimonies were taken out of context and that Hankison ceased fire once he perceived no more threats.

The trial represented a second attempt to hold Hankison accountable for his actions during the raid on Taylor’s apartment on March 13, 2020. In a previous state trial, Hankison was acquitted of multiple wanton endangerment charges. None of his bullets struck anyone in the incident.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter