USA TODAY US Edition

No homi­cide charge from Ky. grand jury

Charges: 1 of 3 of­fi­cers faces en­dan­ger­ment counts Re­ac­tion: Fam­ily lawyer calls de­ci­sion ‘of­fen­sive’ Protests: ‘Heart­bro­ken,’ an­gry crowds in Louisville

- Darcy Costello, Tessa Du­vall and Phillip M. Bai­ley

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A for­mer po­lice de­tec­tive was in­dicted Wed­nes­day on felony charges of wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment af­ter shoot­ing into an apart­ment next door to Bre­onna Tay­lor, 26, an EMT who was killed in her home by po­lice.

Brett Hanki­son, who was fired in June, faces three felony counts, and bail was set at $15,000. A war­rant was is­sued for his ar­rest.

Two other of­fi­cers in­volved in the shoot­ing, Sgt. Jonathan Mat­tingly and De­tec­tive Myles Cos­grove, were jus­ti­fied in their use of force, state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron said at a news con­fer­ence. All three fired their weapons at Tay­lor’s apart­ment.

A wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment charge is a class D felony and could carry a penalty of one to five years in prison.

The charges read by Judge An­nie O’Con­nell on Wed­nes­day said Hanki­son “wan­tonly shot a gun” into ad­join­ing Apart­ment 3. The oc­cu­pants of that apart­ment were iden­ti­fied by ini­tials. None of them was BT – Bre­onna Tay­lor.

The grand jury did not find that Hanki­son wan­tonly fired into Tay­lor’s apart­ment the night she died or that any of the of­fi­cers are crim­i­nally li­able in her death.

In May, Tay­lor’s neigh­bor, Ch­e­sey Nap­per, filed a law­suit against the Louisville Metro Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cers, claim­ing that their shots were “blindly fired” and nearly struck a man in­side her home. Nap­per was preg­nant and had a child in the home, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

Cameron said Wed­nes­day that the grand jury de­cided homi­cide charges are not ap­pli­ca­ble be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed Mat­tingly and Cos­grove were jus­ti­fied in re­turn­ing deadly fire af­ter they were fired upon by Ken­neth Walker, Tay­lor’s boyfriend, who said he didn’t know po­lice were at the door.

Cameron said there is “nothing con­clu­sive to say” that any of Hanki­son’s bul­lets hit Tay­lor.

“Jus­tice is not of­ten easy and does not fit the mold of pub­lic opin­ion. And it does not con­form to shift­ing stan­dards,” Cameron said. “I know that not ev­ery­one will be sat­is­fied with the charges we’ve re­ported to­day.

“My team set out to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Ms. Tay­lor’s death. We did it with a sin­gu­lar goal in mind: pur­su­ing the truth. Ken­tucky de­serves no less. The city of Louisville de­serves no less. If we sim­ply act on emo­tion or out­rage, there is no jus­tice. Mob jus­tice is not jus­tice.”

Cameron said he would cre­ate a task force to re­view the process of se­cur­ing, re­view­ing and ex­e­cut­ing search war­rants in Ken­tucky. It will be a “top-to­bot­tom re­view of the search war­rant process,” he said.

About 200 pro­test­ers gath­ered at Jef­fer­son Square Park in down­town Louisville as the an­nounce­ment was played on a loud­speaker. They be­gan chant­ing, “No jus­tice, no peace.”

“I’m heart­bro­ken,” Lo­gan Cleaver said af­ter the grand jury’s de­ci­sion was an­nounced. “This is not a jus­tice sys­tem if it’s not for every­body.”

A vis­i­bly up­set Tamika Palmer, Tay­lor’s mother, trav­eled to Cameron’s an­nounce­ment in Frank­fort but left with­out com­ment­ing.

Tay­lor’s sister, Ju­niyah Palmer, posted a pic­ture on In­sta­gram of her with Bre­onna, say­ing, “Sister, I am so sorry.”

Ben Crump, a civil rights at­tor­ney who rep­re­sents the Tay­lor fam­ily, said the de­ci­sion is “out­ra­geous and of­fen­sive to Bre­onna Tay­lor’s mem­ory” and “falls far short of what con­sti­tutes jus­tice.”

Crump called the de­ci­sion “in­de­fen­si­ble.”

“If Hanki­son’s be­hav­ior con­sti­tuted wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment of the peo­ple in the apart­ments next to hers, then it should also be con­sid­ered wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment of Bre­onna,” he said. “In fact, it should have been ruled wan­ton mur­der.”

Cameron’s of­fice pre­sented its find­ings to the jury this week. His team has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Tay­lor shoot­ing since May.

The un­cer­tainty swirling around the de­ci­sion on pos­si­ble crim­i­nal charges in Tay­lor’s death has drawn in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion as pro­test­ers have marched and chanted on Louisville’s streets for 119 con­sec­u­tive days. Pro­test­ers in Louisville and sup­port­ers across the USA have called for “jus­tice for Bre­onna” and other Black Amer­i­cans, such as Ge­orge Floyd in Min­neapo­lis, who have been killed by po­lice.

Af­ter Cameron’s an­nounce­ment, Gov. Andy Bes­hear called on the at­tor­ney gen­eral to re­lease in­for­ma­tion that wouldn’t af­fect the felony counts in the in­dict­ment from the grand jury. He said he had made a sug­ges­tion to Cameron, but af­ter Wed­nes­day’s an­nounce­ment, he was mak­ing a re­quest.

“Ev­ery­one can and should be in­formed, and those that are cur­rently feel­ing frus­tra­tion, feel­ing hurt, they de­serve to know more,” Bes­hear said. “I trust Ken­tuck­ians. They de­serve to see the facts for them­selves.”

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of Cameron’s an­nounce­ment, Louisville Mayor Greg Fis­cher in­voked a 72-hour curfew, ef­fec­tive Wed­nes­day night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

A week ago, Fis­cher an­nounced the city agreed to a $12 mil­lion set­tle­ment with Tay­lor’s fam­ily that in­cludes more than a dozen po­lice changes.

Down­town Louisville has taken on the ap­pear­ance of a city un­der siege, where ply­wood is nailed across busi­ness fronts and con­crete bar­ri­ers cor­don off a 25-block perime­ter.

In­terim Po­lice Chief Robert Schroeder said the re­stric­tions, long planned amid “un­prece­dented times,” were meant to pro­tect pub­lic safety, prop­erty and pro­test­ers and to avoid con­flicts be­tween driv­ers and demon­stra­tors.

As pro­test­ers took to the streets, Bes­hear called for demon­stra­tions to re­main peace­ful. He said he’d seen “mili­tia groups” walk­ing through Louisville.

“So be safe, and the eyes of the world are on Louisville,” he said. “Peo­ple will hear. There are more cam­eras broad­cast­ing to more places, and so I’d be mind­ful that they’re here so that you’re heard, and let’s try to do this in a way that makes pos­i­tive change and is not used to pre­vent change.”

Mat­tingly, Cos­grove and Hanki­son have faced in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny – and threats – in the six months since Tay­lor died. Mat­tingly, who was shot dur­ing the raid, and Cos­grove have been on ad­min­is­tra­tive re­as­sign­ment since March. Hanki­son was fired in June af­ter the in­terim po­lice chief de­ter­mined the ev­i­dence showed he fired in­dis­crim­i­nately into Tay­lor’s apart­ment.

Mat­tingly and Cos­grove, as well as four other LMPD of­fi­cers, face an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion for pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tions of depart­ment pol­icy in the Tay­lor shoot­ing that could cost them their jobs.

Tay­lor was killed af­ter of­fi­cers used a “no-knock” search war­rant at her apart­ment shortly be­fore 1 a.m. March 13, look­ing for drugs and cash as part of a larger nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­nected to her for­mer boyfriend.

When the door burst open, Walker fired a sin­gle shot from his Glock hand­gun. Po­lice said the round hit Mat­tingly in the thigh, sev­er­ing an artery.

Mat­tingly, Cos­grove and Hanki­son fired more than two dozen rounds in re­sponse, spray­ing the apart­ment and hit­ting Tay­lor six times. Tay­lor, who was un­armed, died in her hall­way.

Walker filed a law­suit against the depart­ment, ar­gu­ing he is a vic­tim of po­lice mis­con­duct and seek­ing im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion.

Cameron’s of­fice ob­tained the po­lice depart­ment’s Pub­lic In­tegrity Unit in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the of­fi­cers’ con­duct May 20. The du­ra­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion prompted ques­tions from pub­lic of­fi­cials and im­pa­tience from on­look­ers de­mand­ing jus­tice for Tay­lor.

The FBI is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing Tay­lor’s death.

 ?? MATT STONE/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK ?? Christina John­son chants Bre­onna Tay­lor’s name Wed­nes­day as peo­ple gather to hear a grand jury’s find­ings on the po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved in her fa­tal shoot­ing in Louisville, Ky.
MATT STONE/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK Christina John­son chants Bre­onna Tay­lor’s name Wed­nes­day as peo­ple gather to hear a grand jury’s find­ings on the po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved in her fa­tal shoot­ing in Louisville, Ky.
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