The trial of Brett Hankison, the former police detective who fired a hail of bullets through Breonna Taylor’s apartment during a fatal 2020 raid in Louisville, Ky., ended in a mistrial on Thursday after the jury said it could not reach a unanimous verdict on federal civil rights charges.
It was the second time that Mr. Hankison had gone to trial on charges related to the case and avoided a conviction. The Justice Department charged Mr. Hankison last year after a jury found him not guilty of state charges of endangering Ms. Taylor’s neighbors by firing 10 shots through a covered window and a sliding-glass door during a nighttime police raid.
Two other Louisville police officers shot Ms. Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency room technician whose death led to massive protests in Louisville and elsewhere.
Mr. Hankison’s bullets did not strike anyone, but some of them entered a neighboring apartment where a pregnant woman, her boyfriend and her 5-year-old son were sleeping.
Jurors had been deliberating since Monday, and told the judge on Thursday that they were deadlocked, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial, according to The Associated Press. It was not immediately clear if the Justice Department would retry the case.
Mr. Hankison had been charged with violating the rights both of Ms. Taylor and of the family next door. Prosecutors argued in court that he did not have legal justification to use deadly force when he fired the shots.
When the police burst through Ms. Taylor’s apartment door shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that struck an officer in the leg. He said later that he had believed the officers were intruders, because he and Ms. Taylor had not heard the officers announce themselves.
The two officers who shot Ms. Taylor — Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly — have never been charged. Unlike those officers, who were returning fire coming from inside the apartment, Mr. Hankison was not justified in firing through the window and sliding door, which were covered by blinds, Justice Department lawyers argued.
Three other officers were charged by federal prosecutors with knowingly including false information in an affidavit in order to get a judge to approve the raid. One of those officers, Kelly Goodlett, a former detective, pleaded guilty last year.
In doing so, Ms. Goodlett admitted that there had not been enough evidence to support a search warrant for Ms. Taylor’s apartment, and that she had not objected when a fellow detective included false information in the warrant application.
That fellow detective, Joshua Jaynes, and a sergeant, Kyle Meany, were charged with violating Ms. Taylor’s rights. Both officers were among several who were fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department following the raid. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting a trial.
The federal civil rights charges that Mr. Hankison faced carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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