One of the police officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor also allegedly spent years harassing an innocent man and planted drugs on him to facilitate an arrest, a federal lawsuit filed last year claimed.
Brett Hankison, an officer with the Louisville Metro Police Department, is one of three officers who have been placed on administrative reassignment following the March 13 shooting of 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, and Officer Myles Cosgrove executed a search warrant at Taylor’s apartment at around 12:40 a.m. that day, opening fire; Taylor was killed after being shot at least eight times, according to the outlet.
All three have been sued by Taylor’s family, and it’s the latest lawsuit for Hankison, who has been accused of other misdeeds in a federal lawsuit last year, the Courier-Journal reported this week. A man named Kendrick Wilson filed a lawsuit in October 2019 describing Hankison as a “dirty cop” with a “vendetta” against him; he accused the officer of malicious prosecution, among other things, and is seeking punitive damages, as well as the reimbursement of his legal fees, the outlet reported.
Hankison denied all of Wilson’s allegations in his response, which was filed the following month, according to the Courier-Journal.
Wilson alleged that Hankison orchestrated his arrest three separate times between 2016 and 2018 while Hankison was working as security at various local bars, according to the outlet. He alleged that in 2016, Hankison — while working at the Tin Roof bar — arrested him for assault; those charges were ultimately dropped in November 2019.
Wilson also alleged that Hankison arrested him at the same bar in June 2018 based on the claim that a police dog smelled traces of narcotics in Wilson’s pockets.
When Wilson emptied his pockets, the only thing there was money, but Hankison found a plastic bag full of what he suspected was cocaine on the ground and took Wilson into custody, the suit claimed. However Hankison allegedly found the bag “several feet away” on the sidewalk and then proceeded to joke with other officers about “planting” the drugs, according to the suit.
Wilson’s suit also claims that a bystander witnessed Hankison planting the drugs and told Wilson what he saw, and that the exchange was recorded by Hankison’s body camera. Wilson was still arrested, and it was on the way to jail that he accused Hankison of having a “vendetta” against him and of being a “dirty cop,” the suit stated.
Wilson said that he was released after spending the night in jail, and later took a drug test — that he had to pay for — to clear his name, according to the suit. The results came back negative, and the case is currently pending.
The third and final arrest came in October 2018, when Hankison arrested him at Sullivan’s Tap House for allegedly possessing cocaine, Wilson said. That particular case was then reportedly dropped two months later, and the substance that Hankison claimed was cocaine was tested in a laboratory and was found to not be any type of controlled substance.
Hankison’s alleged harassment of Wilson continued the following year when police executed a search warrant in October 2019 at his house and the barbershop that he owns, according to the Courier Journal. No drugs were found. The suit accuses Hankison, who is a narcotics detective, of orchestrating the incident.
Wilson said that the only mistake that he made was "attracting the unwanted and undeserved attention” of Hankison, according to the Courier-Journal’s report. He also claimed that he and Hankison have had exchanges in the past, and at one point had interactions stemming from “a relationship with the same woman.”
As national outrage regarding the Breonna Taylor case continues to grow, it has resulted in increased attention to Wilson’s previous lawsuit, Wilson's lawyer told local station WHAS11.
“It took our case not being taken seriously and it took [Hankison] remaining on LMPD’s force and ultimately being involved in taking someone else’s life for his behavior to get the attention that we were hoping our original lawsuit would get,” Ashlea Hellman said.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.