The Louisville Metro Police Department has fired Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in the March shooting death of Breonna Taylor, while two other officers remain on administrative reassignment while investigations into the shooting continue.
Hankison has 10 days to appeal his firing in writing, and if he does so the Police Merit Board will then hold a public hearing to review the decision to dismiss Hankison.
Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder accused Officer Hankison of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment, creating a substantial danger of death and severe injury.
Schroeder wrote in a Friday letter to Hankison, laying out the charges against him, that his conduct was “a shock to the conscience” and that he is “alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”
The police chief noted that Hankison was previously disciplined for reckless conduct and was disciplined in early 2019.
Hankison has also been recently accused of sexual assault by multiple women in viral social media posts that claim he offered intoxicated women a ride home from bars before sexually assaulting them, according to the Courier-Journal.
Taylor, a Black 26-year-old ER Technician, was killed in her apartment nearly 100 days ago.
Shortly after midnight on March 13, three officers were executing a so-called no-knock search warrant on Taylor’s apartment, which allows police to enter without warning. Louisville police claimed they identified themselves before entering the residence, where Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were in bed — though a lawsuit filed by her family said multiple neighbors provided statements that police did not knock or identify themselves. Walker, who had a license to carry and kept firearms in the home, said he feared for his life as he believed the apartment was being broken into, called 911, grabbed a gun and fired. But Louisville police say that they only fired inside Taylor’s home after they were first fired upon. Taylor was shot at least eight times and, according to attorneys for her family, died on her hallway floor in a pool of blood.
June 5 would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday, and Twitter users employed the hashtag #SayHerName to commemorate Taylor and raise awareness about her case. Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential vice presidential pick of Joe Biden, tweeted that Taylor’s “life was horrifically taken by officers who still have not been charged. Keep up the calls for justice. #SayHerName.” Early Friday morning, demonstrators rallied loudly outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home in Louisville, calling for justice in the killing with a banner reading: “Breonna couldn’t sleep neither Mitch.” Members of the climate-action group Sunrise Movement led the protests.
“It’s about damn time… Maybe, finally, the mayor realized that sometimes you just need to do what the best thing is for the city. Since Day 1, the best thing to do for the city (has been) to take this dirty cop off the payroll and off the streets,” said Sam Aguiar, a Louisville-based attorney for Taylor’s family.