Louisville Police Move to Fire Officer Involved in Death of Breonna Taylor


The police in Louisville, Ky., are moving to terminate one of the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Friday, the first significant action taken against an officer in a case that has drawn widespread criticism and national protests.

The officer, Brett Hankison, was one of three who used a no-knock warrant to enter Ms. Taylor’s apartment with a battering ram, during a late-night drug investigation in March.

The officers shot Ms. Taylor at least eight times. They have not been charged.

The killing of Ms. Taylor, 26, a black emergency medical technician, has for weeks fueled widespread protests and escalating questions about why little action had been taken. Those questions only intensified last week when the police released a four-page incident report of Ms. Taylor’s death, containing minimal details and aberrations, including listing “none” under victim injuries.

Credit…Louisville Metro Police Department

The other officers involved in the case — Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — have been placed on administrative reassignment.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Fischer said officials could not elaborate further about the decision to start termination proceedings against Officer Hankison, citing a provision in state law.

“Both the chief and I are precluded from talking about what brought us to this moment, or even the timing of this decision,” he said.

A lawyer for Mr. Hankison did not immediate reply to a request for comment.

The case has drawn fierce scrutiny, leading city officials to ban the use of no-knock warrants, a contentious police practice that allows officers to forcibly enter homes to search them without warning. Officers said they did announce themselves, but Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he did not hear any warning and opened fire, striking an officer in the leg.

Officers fired back, killing Ms. Taylor, who had been in bed.

According to The Louisville Courier Journal, the officers who killed Ms. Taylor were investigating two men who they believed were selling drugs out of a house that was far from Ms. Taylor’s home. But a judge had also signed a warrant allowing the police to search Ms. Taylor’s residence because the police said they believed that one of the two men had used her apartment to receive packages.

No drugs were found in the apartment, a lawyer for Mr. Walker said.

Ms. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said her daughter had big dreams and planned a lifelong career in health care after serving as an E.M.T.

“She had a whole plan on becoming a nurse and buying a house and then starting a family,” Ms. Palmer told The Courier Journal. “Breonna had her head on straight, and she was a very decent person. She didn’t deserve this.”

The F.B.I. is currently investigating the shooting.





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