What is wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment?

- Ryan W. Miller and Ben Tobin Con­tribut­ing: Phillip M. Bai­ley, USA TO­DAY; Darcy Costello and Tessa Du­vall, Louisville Courier Jour­nal

For­mer of­fi­cer Brett Hanki­son, one of three of­fi­cers in­volved in the shoot­ing death of Bre­onna Tay­lor, was charged Wed­nes­day with first-de­gree wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment for shots fired into a neigh­bor­ing apart­ment.

What does that charge mean?

In Ken­tucky, wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment is a Class D felony. “A per­son is guilty of wan­ton en­dan­ger­ment in the first de­gree when, un­der cir­cum­stances man­i­fest­ing ex­treme in­dif­fer­ence to the value of hu­man life, he wan­tonly en­gages in con­duct which cre­ates a sub­stan­tial danger of death or se­ri­ous phys­i­cal in­jury to another per­son,” state law says.

How many years does the charge carry?

A per­son con­victed of a Class D felony generally faces one to five years in prison for each count.

Other Class D felonies in Ken­tucky law in­clude unau­tho­rized use of a credit card in­volv­ing a sum of $500 to $1,000, pos­ses­sion of a firearm by a con­victed felon and first-de­gree stalk­ing.

Are the charges di­rectly tied to Tay­lor’s death?

No. The three counts Hanki­son faces are tied to the shots he fired into a neigh­bor’s apart­ment.

In May, Tay­lor’s neigh­bor, Ch­e­sey Nap­per, filed a law­suit claim­ing that the of­fi­cers’ shots were “blindly fired.” Ken­tucky At­tor­ney Gen­eral Daniel Cameron said there is not con­clu­sive ev­i­dence that Hanki­son’s shots hit Tay­lor. He said Mat­tingly and Cos­grove were jus­ti­fied in re­turn­ing deadly fire af­ter they were fired upon by Walker.

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