Breonna Taylor: Jury deadlocked over fate of former officer Brett Hankison
The federal trial of a former police officer accused of violating Breonna Taylor’s civil rights ended in a mistrial before a deadlocked jury.
This is the second time Brett Hankison has avoided conviction in connection with the case, after he was found not guilty on state charges last year.
Ms. Taylor was killed in a botched police raid in 2020 in Kentucky. Her death sparked massive marches against racial injustice.
It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors would request a retrial.
The nine-day trial centered on whether Mr. Hankison’s use of force violated the rights of Ms. Taylor, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and her neighbors.
Mr. Hankison fired 10 shots through Ms. Taylor’s window and door as officers attempted to execute a “no-knock” search warrant for her apartment on March 13, 2020.
Another officer, Myles Cosgrove, fired the shot that killed Taylor. The shots fired by Hankison did not hit anyone, but some of them landed in the adjacent apartment, where a young child lived.
On the stand in Louisville, the former detective admitted he couldn’t see the target but believed a shootout was happening and acted to save his life and the lives of his fellow officers.
Jurors were in their fourth day of deliberations on the two charges against Mr. Hankison when they told the judge on Thursday that they were unable to reach a decision.
District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings earlier urged the 12-member, mostly white, panel to continue trying to reach a ruling after they indicated they had reached an impasse, the Associated Press reported.
The agency added that it informed the court that security officials in the building were forced to visit the jury room in response to “loud noises” heard during deliberations.
The double deprivation charges against Hankison, 47, carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
He was the only officer who fired his weapon during the raid against whom the government brought criminal charges.
In March 2022, a Kentucky jury spent about three hours deliberating before finding Mr. Hankison not guilty on three counts of felony wanton endangerment during the incident.
But three other former officers involved in the raid were charged in separate federal cases.
One of them, Kelly Goodlett, has pleaded guilty and is expected to testify against the others, Joshua Gaines and Kyle Meaney, at their joint trial next year.
The raid was part of a wide-ranging drugs investigation, but no drugs were found at Ms Taylor’s home.
In December, Mr Walker received a $2m (£1.7m) settlement from the city over the incident.