ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT, REMOVES REPORTS ATTRIBUTION
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – A grand jury returned a criminal indictment Wednesday against a former Louisville, Kentucky police officer on charges related to the case of Breonna Taylor who was fatally shot by police six months ago.
Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. The charges stem from shots fired into an adjacent property.
Hankinson was one of three officers who faced potential charges related to the March 13 fatal raid that left Taylor, 26, dead after police executed a no-knock warrant at her residence. Officers Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly were not charged.
Taylor, a Black health care worker, was shot eight times in her home as officers and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 28, exchanged gunfire while police attempted to carry out a narcotics raid.
Louisville has since banned no-knock warrants, and the southern US city was bracing for a groundswell of protest following the announcement. The National Guard has been placed on standby in case demonstrations turn violent.
Criticism of the grand jury's decision came swiftly after it was announced.
Ben Crump, one of the attorney's representing the Taylor family, denounced the decision not to pursue additional charges against the three officers as "outrageous and offensive!"
"If Brett Hankison's behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor's apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!," he said on Twitter.
State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his investigation found "and the grand jury agreed that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker."
"According to Kentucky law the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves," he said.
Cameron called Taylor's death a "tragedy" and vowed to prosecute the charges against Hankison, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.