USA TODAY US Edition
What is wanton endangerment?
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.