Courts Police Race

Grand Jury Fails to Charge Officers Responsible for Breonna Taylor’s Murder

On September 23, a decision was made by a grand jury concerning the murder of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman from Louisville, KY who was killed in her home in March of this year. Out of the three officers present at her murder, only one – Brett Hankison – was charged. Hankison was charged not with murder, but with “wanton endangerment” for firing his gun into Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment. Within Kentucky jurisdiction, wanton endangerment is defined as “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” and is given about a five-year sentence for each count. Hankison received three counts.

The shot that killed Taylor was fired by Myles Cosgrove, who has received no charge. The third officer, Jonathan Mattingly, also received no charge. Mattingly, in an email sent Tuesday morning, claims he believes all three officers were acting “legal[ly], moral[ly], and ethical[ly] that night” – the night that Taylor lost her life. Both Cosgrove and Mattingly still hold their positions on the police force, and Hankison was dismissed because he fired into Taylor’s apartment without a line of sight.

Taylor was killed on March 13. On June 11, “Breonna’s Law” was passed, which outlaws “no-knock” warrants and required body cameras to be on before and after each search. Hankison was officially fired on June 23. On September 15, the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family. Nonetheless, this story is juxtaposed with George Floyd, where officers were charged and fired in a swifter fashion. Despite numerous high-profile celebrities and activists drawing attention to Taylor’s case, there has been no justice for Breonna Taylor and her family because the officers were not held accountable for her murder.

Sources: BBC 9/23/20, The New York Times 9/24/20, ABC News 9/23/20