Former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Brett Hankison was discovered not responsible on all counts Thursday after he was accused of endangering a pair and their 5-year-old son the night time police raided Breonna Taylor’s condominium.
The jury reached their verdict after deliberating for a little bit over three hours following practically two weeks of testimony.
Hankison, a former officer with the Louisville Metro Police Division, was accused of endangering Cody Etherton, his companion, Chelsey Napper, and their 5-year-old son when he fired pictures that went into their condominium on March 13, 2020. Police had been on the complicated to raid a neighboring condominium that belonged to Breonna Taylor in connection to a narcotics investigation.
Police shot and killed Taylor, 26, who was Black, after her boyfriend mentioned he fired a shot, fearing a house invasion.
Hankison was fired in June 2020. A grand jury indicted him on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for bullets that went into Etherton and Napper’s condominium.
He was the one officer concerned within the raid to be charged, and no fees had been filed immediately referring to Taylor’s demise.
Etherton, 29, testified that police had been “unorganized” and “reckless” the night time of the raid. He described how “particles began going previous my head and face” as bullets flew into his condominium, shattering his sliding glass patio door.
“I may put two and two collectively … I used to be like they suppose my backdoor is her backdoor. That’s what I believed, which to me is simply very unorganized,” he mentioned. “They didn’t even know whose backdoor that was. They didn’t even know who lived there. So, to me that form of upset me. It was simply reckless to me.”
Napper, who was pregnant on the time, mentioned she known as 911 twice after bullets pierced a wall she shared with Taylor.
“It was so scary and loopy I didn’t know what was happening,” Napper testified.
Hankison appeared to get emotional throughout his testimony on Wednesday as he recounted the moments main as much as when he opened hearth.
The previous officer mentioned he noticed a “muzzle flash” nearly instantly after police broke by way of Taylor’s entrance door. He believed the flash got here from somebody contained in the condominium firing a rifle.
“The muzzle flash was not a muzzle flash that I’d generally establish as a handgun muzzle flash. This was a large-fire muzzle flash that I may see immediately in entrance of me,” he advised the courtroom. “With the muzzle flash, it then gave the illumination to that hallway.”
He testified that he believed his colleagues had been going to be executed.
“So I returned hearth by way of the sliding glass door, and that didn’t cease the risk,” he mentioned.
Hankison fired a complete of 10 pictures that night time. He mentioned the gunfire lasted solely about 5 to 10 seconds.
No rifle was discovered on the scene. Kentucky Assistant Legal professional Common Barbara Whaley mentioned in her opening statements that solely a Glock pistol was positioned inside Taylor’s condominium.
At one level in his testimony, Hankison was requested how he felt about bullets going into Etherton and Napper’s condominium.
“I used to be fairly shook as a result of I came upon later that … Ms. Napper testified that they had a small youngster in there and I felt horrible,” he mentioned.
When requested whether or not he thought he did something improper, he responded: “Completely not.”
“It’s one thing that didn’t must occur,” he mentioned, calling the incident a “tragedy.”