The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) is firing one of three officers involved in the March shooting of Breonna Taylor, a black 26-year-old emergency medical technician.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Friday that interim LMPD Chief Rob Schroeder is firing police officer Brett Hankison. Fischer said state law barred him from publicly explaining the decision or its timing, according to a statement by his office.
Schroeder sent a letter to Hankison on Friday outlining the accusations against him and the reasons for his dismissal, citing the officer’s conduct during a police raid on Taylor’s home on March 13. Schroeder said Hankison “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” according to The Associated Press.
“In fact, the 10 rounds you fired were into a patio door and window which were covered with material that completely prevented you from verifying any person as an immediate threat or more importantly any innocent persons present,” the letter said.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder continued, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”
“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. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department,” Schroeder said. “Your conduct demands your termination.”
Taylor was shot at least eight times on the night of March 13 when police officers executed a no-knock warrant and search of her home as part of a larger drug investigation. No drugs were found in Taylor’s residence.
Officers broke through the door to her apartment and opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in the apartment at the time and claims that the officers did not announce themselves before breaking down the door, shot at the police not realizing who they were. The officers claim they did announce themselves before breaking into the apartment.
Hankison was one of three police officers to fire his weapon into Taylor’s apartment. The other two, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, remain on administrative leave while the investigation into Taylor’s death continues. Louisville FBI agents visited Taylor’s apartment on Friday morning to take another look at the scene.
“It’s about damn time. It should have happened a long time ago, but thankfully it’s at least happening now,” Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar said of Hankison’s removal, according to the AP. “This is an officer that’s plagued our streets and made this city worse for over a dozen years. … Let’s hope that this is a start to some good, strong criminal proceedings against Officer Hankison, because he definitely deserves to at least be charged.”
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