One of three Louisville Metro Police officers who fired shots that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor has been indicted on criminal charges.
A Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday indicted former officer Brett Hankinson on three charges of wanton endangerment in the first degree, which means he faces one to five years in prison on each count if convicted.
The two other LMPD officers, Jonathon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were not charged; however, Attorney General Daniel Cameron says federal investigators are looking into the two.
“When examining issues regarding potential civil rights violations, we determined that any such violations are better addressed during a federal investigation,” Cameron said.
Cameron said his investigators spent thousands of hours examining the evidence and interviewing witnesses. “We concluded our last interview, in this case, this past Friday. We began our grand jury presentation on Monday.”
Taylor, a Louisville EMT, was shot to death by Louisville Metro Police officers while they were executing a warrant on March 13. When narcotics detectives knocked down her front door, the noise prompted her boyfriend to fire a shot, wounding one of the officers. They returned fire, and Taylor was struck several times. No drugs were found in the home.
Cameron contradicted reports that the officers executed a no-knock warrant.
“Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment,” he said. “The officers’ saying they made an announcement was corroborated by an independent witness who was in proximity to Apartment 4.”
Harkinson fired numerous shots through the window, some of which penetrated the wall into another department. It was occupied by three people, hence the three counts of wanton endangerment against him.
As for the other officers, Cameron said, “Our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the use of force, after having been fired on.”
He said he knows there will be those who are not satisfied with the grand jury action.
“There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists, who have never lived in Kentucky, [who] will try to tell us how to deal with this, suggesting they understand the facts of the case, they know our community and the Commonwealth better than we do, but they don’t,” he said.
As a result of the incident, Cameron said he is going to assemble a task force to look into the process of securing and executing search warrants in Kentucky. The task force, which he said will give Kentucky a top-to-bottom review of the search warrant policy if necessary, will consist of civilians, members of the law enforcement community, the judiciary and elected officials.
There are expected to be at least two pieces of legislation dealing with search warrants introduced during the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly. One is proposed by Senate Republican leadership, including President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester. The other by Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Latek is a writer for Kentucky Today, kentuckytoday.com, a news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)