A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer on three counts of “wanton endangerment in the first degree” in the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed during a no-knock raid on her home in March.
Sgt. Brett Hankison escaped more serious felony charges related to homicide from the grand jury. Wanton endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.
No other police officers involved in the raid were criminally charged.
Ben Crump, attorney for the family of Breonna Taylor, said on Twitter that the charge was “not fully what we wanted,” but added “this brings us closer to justice” for Taylor.
Hankison was fired from the department three months after Taylor’s death. Then-Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote that Hankison violated standard operating procedure when his “actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds” into Taylor’s apartment,
“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible,” he wrote. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”
Louisville took extraordinary steps in advance of the grand jury’s announcement, closing downtown streets and putting the city under a state of emergency. Most city administrative buildings and other businesses were boarded up in anticipation of the decision. There have been protests in Louisville for more than 100 consecutive days over the death.
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