Louisville Police Detective Will Be Fired Over Breonna Taylor Shooting

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A Louisville police detective will be fired over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by officers who burst into her home March 13, according to Louisville's police chief. Taylor, who was studying to become a nurse, was shot eight times by officers conducting a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found at her home.

In a scathing letter Friday to Detective Brett Hankison by Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder, Schroeder said he plans to begin termination proceedings against Hankison over the shooting.  The chief said he made the decision after reviewing the results of the department's internal investigation.

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

The letter said Hankison violated department regulations by showing "an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired 10 shots into the apartment of Breonna Taylor March 13."

Hankison also violated the department's use of force policy by firing the rounds "without supporting facts that your deadly force was directed at a person against whom posed an immediate threat of danger or serious injury to yourself or others," the letter said. In addition, Hankison "failed to be cognizant of the direction in which your firearm was discharged," and endangered the lives of Taylor's neighbors when three rounds traveled into their nearby apartment.

The letter says Hankison will have an opportunity with union representatives or counsel to provide the chief with "additional information or mitigating factors."
The officers involved in the shooting — Hankison, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — had previously been placed on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated. None have been charged, despite widespread calls for their arrest. Kentucky's attorney general pleaded for patience on Thursday as his office, appointed as special prosecutor in the case, weighs a charging decision.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was also in the home that night and fired at police. Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but that charge was dropped by prosecutors in May. Walker told police he didn't know who was coming into the home and that he thought he was acting in self-defense. Mattingly was shot in the thigh and recovered.

The release of Walker's 911 call on May 28 marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, which were fueled by Taylor's death and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The shooting also led city officials in Louisville to ban the use of controversial "no-knock" warrants. 

This story was originally published by CBS News on June 19, 2020 at 12:48 p.m. ET.


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