Mistrial of officer who opened hearth throughout Breonna Taylor raid as jury deadlocks | Kentucky

A federal decide declared a mistrial Thursday afternoon after a jury deadlocked on civil rights costs in opposition to a former Louisville police officer who fired stray bullets within the raid that left Breonna Taylor lifeless.

Brett Hankison was accused of utilizing extreme pressure that violated the rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend, and her neighbors. Hankison fired 10 photographs into Taylor’s window and glass door after officers got here below hearth whereas looking out the faulty drug warrant on March 13, 2020. A few of his photographs flew into a close-by condominium, however none of them hit anybody.

The 12-member, principally white, jury struggled to achieve a verdict over a number of days. On Thursday afternoon, they despatched a memo to the decide saying that they had reached an deadlock. Decide Rebecca Grady Jennings urged them to maintain attempting, they usually returned to deliberations.

The decide reported that there have been “loud noises” coming from the jury room at instances throughout deliberations this week, and court docket safety officers needed to go to the room. Jurors informed the decide Thursday they had been deadlocked on the 2 counts in opposition to Hankison, unable to achieve a choice.

It’s doable {that a} mistrial might result in Hankison being retried, however that might be decided by federal prosecutors at a later date.

Hankison, 47, was acquitted by a Kentucky jury. last year Charged with endangerment. Prosecutors alleged he unlawfully endangered Taylor’s neighbors. Months after his acquittal final yr, the US Division of Justice introduced brought new charges in opposition to Hankison, together with a bunch of different officers concerned in drafting the warrant.

US Legal professional Merrick Garland mentioned Taylor, a 26-year-old Black lady learning to change into a nurse, “needs to be alive right this moment” when he introduced the federal costs in August 2022. The fees Hankison confronted carried a most jail sentence. Life in jail.

Hankison was the one officer who fired his weapon on the evening of the Taylor raid to be charged criminally. Prosecutors determined that two different officers had been justified in returning hearth after one among them was shot within the leg.

Federal prosecutor Michael Songer mentioned Monday within the trial’s closing arguments that Hankison “was a regulation enforcement officer, however he was not above the regulation.” Songer argued that Hankison couldn’t see the goal and knew that blindly taking pictures into the constructing was a mistake.

Hankison’s lawyer, Stuart Matthews, responded that he was performing shortly to assist his fellow officers, who he believed had been “executed” by a gunman who opened hearth from inside Taylor’s condominium. Taylor’s boyfriend fired one shot as police burst by means of the door. Her good friend, Kenneth Walker, mentioned he thought an intruder was breaking in.

“If his notion was cheap given the chaos of that second, then this was not prison,” Matthews mentioned.

On the evening of the raid, Hankison mentioned he noticed a shot from Taylor’s boyfriend within the hallway after her door was damaged down. He stepped again and ran across the nook of the constructing, taking pictures into the aspect of the condominium.

“I needed to reply,” he testified. “I had no selection.”

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