New details emerge in Breonna Taylor’s Grand Jury tapes

Emma Garcia, Assistant News Editor

Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old African American woman, was fatally shot in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on March 13, 2020, when police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove forced entry into her home as part of an investigation dealing with drug operations. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, was inside with her when the officers knocked and forced entry. Officers said they announced themselves, but Walker claims he didn’t hear an announcement and thought they were intruders, so he fired a warning shot. According to the police, it hit Mattingly in the leg, so the officers fired 32 rounds in return, hitting Taylor with six and killing her instantly. Mattingly, the only officer that entered the residence, fired six shots at the same time that Cosgrove fired 16 from the doorway, and Hankison fired 10 through a sliding glass door and bedroom window.

The New York Times interviewed roughly a dozen neighbors and found that only one of them heard the officers shout “Police!” once and knock at least three times, while 11 other neighbors claim they heard no knock or announcement, including one that was outside during that time. In his police interrogation, Walker said that Taylor yelled, “Who is it?” several times after hearing a loud bang at the door and received no answer, and that’s when he armed himself. An officer testified to the grand jury that the police never searched her apartment for neither drugs nor money.

All three officers involved were placed on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of an investigation. In early June, Officer Hankison was called to be removed from the Louisville Police Merit Board, which reviews appeals from police officers in departmental disciplinary matters. Hankison violated the departmental policies on the use of deadly force by firing into Taylor’s apartment without determining whether any person presented “an immediate threat.”

Every day for three straight months after the incident, protesters gathered together and demanded the prosecution of the officers who fatally shot Taylor, and it still took two months after she died for her case to become a national story. In June, Louisville’s Metro Council unanimously passed Breonna’s Law, banning LMPD from using no-knock search warrants. Lawmakers in other states and cities are now filing for similar legislation. Even five months after her death, the results of the investigation were not made public and no charges were announced that the officers involved could face.

In the newly released audio from closed-door grand jury proceedings, there was conflicting testimony over what happened in the seconds before the police shot and killed Taylor. The grand jury concluded its work by bringing an indictment against Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing shots that jeopardize the safety of three people in an apartment neighboring Taylor’s. As of right now, no officer that took part in the March 13th raid is charged for Taylor’s death. In addition to an FBI civil rights investigation, the LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit is investigating the actions of Cosgrove, Hankison, Mattingly, and detectives Joshua Jaynes, Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles. A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 28.