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Louisville Police Move to Fire Officer Involved in Breonna Taylor Killing

Detective blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment and endangered others, chief says

By Arian Campos-Flores, Wall Street Journal

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor (Family Photo)

The Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Department is moving to fire one of the three police officers involved in the March killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday.

Ms. Taylor was asleep with her boyfriend when the three officers, who had secured a no-knock warrant to search her home in connection with a drug case, broke through her apartment’s front door. Her boyfriend, thinking they were intruders, shot at them, according to his attorney. Officers responded by firing more than 20 bullets, at least eight of which hit and killed Ms. Taylor, according to attorneys for her family.

In a letter advising Detective Brett Hankison that the department was initiating his termination, Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the officer violated procedures when he “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 rounds into the apartment. The chief said Detective Hankison fired into a patio door and window covered with material that prevented him from verifying whether someone was an imminent threat. Some of the rounds entered the neighboring apartment, endangering the three people there, the chief said.

“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Chief Schroeder wrote. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”

Activists have called for the three officers to be fired and criminally charged, and their demands have become more insistent in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25.

Detective Hankison was disciplined last year for reckless conduct that injured an innocent person, according to the chief. The police union representing Louisville officers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

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