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Crime News Black Lives Matter

Trial Begins For Former Kentucky Officer Charged In Connection To Breonna Taylor Raid

Former officer Brett Hankison fired 10 shots near a door during the raid at Breonna Taylor's residence and shot into the neighboring apartment where a family lived. 

By The Associated Press
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Nearly two years after Breonna Taylor’s shooting death by police, the only Kentucky officer facing criminal charges in the botched raid stood trial Wednesday for shooting into Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment.

Judge Ann Bailey Smith swore in 10 men and five women as jurors and alternates before the prosecution began presenting its case. The court declined to release information about their race or ethnicity. 

Brett Hankison, now a former officer, fired 10 shots near a side door during the raid, but none hit Taylor. Prosecutors say the bullets endangered Taylor’s neighbors — a couple and their infant child. Hankison is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, a low-level felony that is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. 

Assistant Kentucky Attorney General Barbara Maines Whaley, in her opening statement, told jurors that the case is not about the killing of Taylor, for which the city of Louisville paid a settlement to the slain woman’s family, an amount that won’t bring her back. Nor, she said, is it about the decisions by police that led to the raid. She said the charges are focused on Hankinson’s decision to fire five bullets through Taylor’s apartment, several of which entered the home of her neighbors.

Hankison’s jury was selected from a larger-than-normal pool because of the national publicity Taylor’s case has attracted since the deadly raid on March 13, 2020. Taylor’s name, along with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery — Black men who died in encounters with police and white pursuers — became rallying cries during racial justice protests seen around the world in 2020. 

The 12 jurors and three alternates are expected to tour Taylor’s apartment and hear testimony from Hankison during the trial that’s expected to take two weeks. Several other current and former police officers are expected to testify. 

The 26-year-old Black woman worked as an emergency medical tech and was settling down for bed when Louisville officers with a narcotics warrant kicked in her door. They drew fire from Taylor’s boyfriend, who thought an intruder was breaking in. Two officers at the door returned fire, killing Taylor. Neither one was charged in her death, though one of the officers was struck by a bullet in the leg.