More than three months after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home after police executed a “no-knock” warrant in the middle of the night, one of the officers who shot her will be fired.
Detective Brett Hankison “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” by “wantonly and blindly” firing ten shots into Taylor’s home on March 13, acting Louisville Metro Police chief Robert Schroeder wrote in a termination letter dated June 19. The letter says Hankison is guilty of “extreme violations of the department’s policies.”
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder wrote. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.” Hankison’s record is littered with misconduct. In 2016 he ran over and injured another detective and he has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women who say he offered them rides home from bars in his marked car and then aggressively grabbed them. One woman described him as “a predator of the worst kind.”
In a press conference Friday that lasted less than a minute, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, who has faced persistent criticism over the slow response to Taylor’s killing, said state law precludes him “from talking about what brought us to this moment or even the timing of this decision.”
Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said “it’s about damn time” Hankison was fired. But he also made it clear that the family wants charges. “If this wasn’t wanton murder and attempted murder, then I don’t know what the hell would be,” he said. “We expect and demand these charges. Lots of explaining to do if they don’t come.”
Hankison’s firing marks the first major move against the officers who fired 22 rounds into Taylor’s apartment at roughly 12:45 a.m. on March 13. While police claim they announced themselves before entering the apartment, Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, said he didn’t hear it. When police broke down the door, Walker fired one shot, which hit one of the officers. The police returned fire, shooting Taylor eight times and killing her.
As protesters have waited for action against the officers, two of whom are currently on administrative leave, the local government in Louisville has taken small steps in response to Taylor’s killing. Police are now required to wear body cameras at all times — the officers who killed Taylor were not wearing them, police say — and a civilian-review board has been established. Last week, the Metro Council passed Breonna’s Law, banning “no-knock” warrants.
Kentucky’s Attorney General is also conducting an investigation into the behavior of the officers involved in the shooting. On Thursday, he urged patience for those eager to see the officers punished. “An investigation of this magnitude, when done correctly, requires time and patience,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said. “We will do what is right. We will find the truth.”