Former and current officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, were facing potential indictments for killing Breonna Taylor, but only one was charged in connection with the case, Louisville Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced on Wednesday (Sept. 23).
The grand jury opted to indict Hankison, who was fired from the department in June, on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing recklessly and endangering neighbors on the night of Taylor’s murder. Hankison was not charged for her death. If convicted on all three charges, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Cameron stated that he spoke with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer ahead of the announcement. He called the 26-year-old emergency room tech’s death a “tragedy,” before revealing “facts” in the case, which concluded that all of the officers acted lawfully.
“There was no video or body camera footage of the officers’ attempted execution of a search warrant at Ms. Taylor’s residence. Video footage begins at the point that area patrol officers arrive at the location. And therefore, the sequence of events from March 13th had to be pieced together through ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews,” said Cameron, who denied that police were executing a no-knock warrant in the early morning hours of March 13. Louisville moved to ban no-nock warrant’s after Taylor’s death.
Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison were called on as “extra personnel” during the raid on Taylor’s home, and only had information that was “conveyed” during a prior briefing, according to Cameron. Another unnamed officer filed the warrant.
“Evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officer’s statement about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to [Taylor’s apartment],” continued Cameron. “In other words, the warrant was no served as a ‘no-knock warrant.’ When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door the decision was made to breach the door.”
Mattingly was the “first and only officer” to enter the residence, where he saw two people (Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker), Cameron said. Both Taylor and Walker were unaware that police were raiding the residence and were sleeping prior to being woken up by the commotion. Mattingly observed Walker in a “shooting stance” and was shot in the upper thigh, Cameron said.
“Seargent Mattingly returned fire down the hallway. Mattingly fired six shots. Almost simultaneously, Detective Cosgrove also in the doorway, shot 16 times. This all took place in a matter of seconds,” Cameron said. “In total, six bullets struck Ms. Taylor. Medical evidence obtained by our team indicates that only one shot was fatal.” Cameron added that Crossgrove fired the fatal shot and that Taylor died within seconds. However, Walker told authorities that Taylor struggled to breathe for at least five minutes. She went untreated for more than 20 minutes.
“I think it is worth repeating again our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” Cameron reiterated.
Cameron does not plan to release the grand jury indictment. When asked about the racial breakdown of his team he replied, “Well I’m Black. And I speak for the entire department.”
Benjamin Crump, one of the attorney’s representing Taylor’s family called the charges “outrageous and offensive to her memory.” Read his full statement below.
Today’s indictment is outrageous and offensive to Breonna Taylor’s memory, yet another example of no accountability for police. Full statement: (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/pmurOrV5My
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 23, 2020