Louisville cop Brett Hankison fired for his role in Breonna Taylor fatal shooting

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot by officers at her apartment on March 13 as they entered to serve a no-knock warrant.

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In this undated photo provided by the Louisville Police Department is officer, Brett Hankison. Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday, June 19, 2020, that Hankison, who is one of three police officers involved in the March 13 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, will be fired. Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated.

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Officer Brett Hankison has been terminated, effective Tuesday, for his role in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, Louisville Metro Police announced.

Taylor, 26, was shot by officers at her apartment on March 13 as they entered to serve a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend thought officers were intruders and fired a shot as they entered. Taylor was shot eight times in the ensuing gunfire from officers.

Hankison is accused by the department’s interim chief, Robert Schroeder, of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment, creating a substantial danger of death and serious injury. 

In a letter, interim Chief Robert Schroeder wrote that after the pretermination hearing held Tuesday, Schroeder decided to proceed and fire Hankison. 

Schroeder notes that Hankison may appeal the decision to the Police Merit Board in writing within 10 days.

A request for comment from David Leightty, an attorney for Hankison, was not immediately returned Tuesday evening.

“It’s another good, small step,” said Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family. “We won’t be satisfied until rightful charges are brought against him, until charges are brought against everyone responsible for Breonna’s death.”

A spokeswoman for LMPD declined to comment further, citing state law. ‘

Schroeder’s Tuesday letter to Hankison reiterated the charges made against him in his pre-termination letter on Friday: that Hankison showed “extreme indifference to the value of human life” and that his use of deadly force was improper because he failed to verify it was directed against someone who posed an immediate threat. 

Schroeder accuses Hankison of “blindly” firing ten rounds into Taylor’s apartment and the one next door. 

“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder repeated. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.” 

Quoting from the Police Merit Board’s rules, Schroeder notes that any appeal from Hankison is due in writing within 10 days and “must include a statement of the grounds for appeal.” 

The board will then schedule a public hearing to review the chief’s move to terminate Hankison, considering whether it was “unjustified or unsupported by proper evidence.” It will only consider evidence presented in the public hearing.

If it determines the action was unjustified, it can set aside the chief’s order and create a new penalty or opt to reinstate Hankison’s employment.

Mark Dobbins, an attorney for the merit board, said Friday that in many past cases, officers who have criminal matters pending will ask for the merit board proceeding to be held “in abeyance,” meaning delayed until the resolution of the criminal case.

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