Breonna Taylor’s mom stormed out of court docket on Wednesday because the ex–Louisville cop on trial over the lethal raid testified in his personal protection.
“She did not have to die that evening,” Brett Hankison advised Taylor’s household from the witness field, prompting mom Tamika Palmer to face up and depart the room.
Hankison will not be on trial for Taylor’s loss of life, however for firing bullets through the botched raid right into a neighboring condominium that endangered the lives of these three residents. He has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment and faces as much as 15 years in jail if convicted. No different officer related to the raid has been charged with any crimes.
Hankison, who was fired after Taylor’s loss of life for firing “blindly” through the March 2020 raid, testified that he did “completely” nothing fallacious, insisting he used his weapon as a result of he felt it was vital to guard the lives of his two colleagues, considered one of whom, Jonathan Mattingly, had already been shot within the leg.
“I knew Sgt. Mattingly was down and I knew they had been making an attempt to get to him, and it appeared to me they had been being executed with this rifle,” Hankison testified. “I assumed I might put rounds by way of that bed room window and cease the menace.”
Mattingly had been shot by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who fired his handgun as soon as after police rammed within the door with a purpose to execute a search warrant as a part of a narcotics investigation into Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Walker and Taylor had been asleep when the raid started, and he fired his weapon pondering they had been being attacked.
Usually struggling to talk as he turned emotional, Hankison mentioned that the muzzle flash of Walker’s shot briefly illuminated the condominium’s inside hallway and the officer incorrectly believed the shadowy determine he might see was in a taking pictures place with an AR-15 rifle. (Prosecutors have mentioned no such rifle was ever found.)
As he ran from the entrance door and to the aspect of the condominium with a purpose to escape the so-called deadly funnel, Hankison mentioned he might hear a volley of gunfire that he assumed was coming from the rifle. In actual fact, it was the sound of his two colleagues firing rounds — six of which struck Taylor.
Hankison mentioned he fired his 10 rounds from the aspect of the condominium, pondering he was aiming in the direction of the determine within the hallway. However a number of of his rounds went into the neighboring condominium, narrowly lacking the occupants.
When Walker was ultimately ordered out of the condominium, he advised officers that Taylor was useless inside. Hankison mentioned he was shocked to be taught there had been a couple of particular person within the condominium.
“That form of shook me as a result of there was solely alleged to be one particular person in that condominium, and now there was allegedly a lady inside, and that wasn’t why we had been there,” he mentioned.
Hankison advised the jury he had participated in as many as 1,000 search warrants throughout his profession, however that this had been the primary time he fired his weapon whereas on obligation.
He had solely signed as much as take part within the raid that afternoon, however was not proven any ground plans or images of Taylor’s condominium or constructing. He was unaware, he mentioned, that there was even an condominium behind her.
“What had been your emotions about this whole incident?” protection lawyer Stew Mathews requested.
“Tragedy,” Hankison replied. “This did not need to occur.”