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Jury finds ex-Louisville police officer Brett Hankison not guilty of wanton endangerment

Brett Hankison during reading of jury verdict on March 3, 2022.
Brett Hankison during reading of jury verdict on March 3, 2022.

A Jefferson County jury found former Louisville Metro police officer Brett Hankison not guilty on all counts Thursday.

He was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in September 2020 for his actions during the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment that March. The charges stemmed from bullets he fired that traveled into a neighboring, occupied apartment.

The decision came 10 days before the two-year anniversary of the raid, which sparked racial justice and police accountability protests in Louisville and across the country.

After receiving the verdict, Hankison’s attorney, Stew Mathews, told reporters “justice was done.” He said he believes Hankison’s testimony in his own defense helped him, and that the jury made the right decision.

Asked whether Hankison would become a police officer again, Mathews said they had not discussed it.

“We take it one day at a time, and today is the start of the rest of his life, at least for now,” he said.

Barbara Whaley of the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office said prosecutors respect the jury’s verdict. She offered no further comment.

Hankison’s defense centered on his claim that he was attempting to protect his fellow officers. He became emotional when discussing former Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot as he and other plainclothes officers broke down Taylor’s front door in the middle of the night. Her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired one bullet from a handgun, later said he believed they were intruders.

In a tweet after the verdict, Mattingly celebrated the jury’s decision.

Hankison was the only person charged in connection to the March 13, 2020, incident. No one was charged for Taylor’s killing.

Taylor’s younger sister Ju’Niyah Palmer, who lived with her but was not in the apartment that night, lamented the outcome of the case in a tweet.

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