Ex-officer cleared in shooting during Breonna Taylor raid

A Kentucky jury has cleared a former police officer who fired shots during the 2020 drug raid that ended with Breonna Taylor’s death.

The jury on Thursday found Brett Hankison not guilty of endangering neighbors when he fired through sliding-glass side doors and a window of Taylor’s apartment. The panel deliberated about three hours before delivering its verdict.

None of the officers involved in the raid were charged with Taylor’s death, and Hankison did not fire any of the bullets that killed the 26-year-old Black woman.

Hankison had been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment. He has been the only officer criminally charged in the case.

Testifying in his trial Wednesday, Hankison said the gunfire began with a muzzle flash that illuminated a shadowy silhouette, and he thought it was someone firing an automatic rifle at his fellow officers. Hankison said he returned fire hoping to eliminate the threat.

Evidence showed he fired 10 times into Taylor’s apartment through a glass door and a window that were cloaked so that no one could clearly see inside.

Earlier in the trial, Taylor’s neighbor testified that she was jolted awake by the sound of a battering ram the night of the raid and called 911 twice after bullets few into her apartment. Another neighbor testified that he narrowly escaped with his life.

A federal investigation into the shooting is ongoing, including a look at whether any officers violated Taylor’s civil rights.

The death of Taylor and others, including George Floyd, led to racial injustice protests nationwide throughout 2020.