Home U.S Breonna Taylor: Prosecutors want trial of detective in shooting held in Louisville

Breonna Taylor: Prosecutors want trial of detective in shooting held in Louisville

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The Kentucky Attorney General’s office asked a judge this week to keep the trial for one of the officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting in Louisville, citing a “large and diverse” pool for jurors, according to a report. 

Former Det. Brett Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment last September for firing into an apartment next to Taylor’s and showing “extreme indifference to human life.” A man, a pregnant woman and a child were inside the apartment. He also shot into another empty apartment.

Taylor’s death became an integral part of the fight against police brutality and racial justice protests that swept the nation last year, stirred by the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

Last month, Hankison’s attorney, Stew Mathews, argued his trial should take place in another county because he claimed the former detective has been portrayed in a negative light by the media, which could prejudice his jury and “irreparably harm” his chance for a fair trial, WRDB-TV in Louisville reported. 

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Former Det. Brett Hankison was charged last fall with wanton endangerment. 

Former Det. Brett Hankison was charged last fall with wanton endangerment. 
(Louisville Metro Police Department)

He told Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith the “media circus” and portrayed his client in a “false and negative light.”

The request was denied by Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, saying Matthews had not shown conclusively “public opinion is so aroused in the county as to reasonable preclude a fair trial” and noting that potential jurors will be questioned about potential bias before the trial.

The Kentucky Supreme Court recently upheld a judge’s decision to keep the trial in Jefferson County, adding that moving it to another county would likely cause “hardship” for lay witnesses and victims, all of whom live in Louisville, WDRB reported.

Hankison and two other Louisville Metro Police officers, McKenzie Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room tech, in her apartment on March 13, 2020, following a no-knock drug raid. No drugs were found inside.

None of the officers were indicted for Taylor’s killing, setting off another wave of protests and criticism.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a warning shot when officers entered because he thought he and Taylor were being robbed, his attorney said. The officers, who later said they had announced their entry, fired back, hitting Taylor. Walker shot one of the officers in the leg.

FBI ballistics experts determined one of Cosgrove’s bullets had killed her. 

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Jefferson County, which includes Lousiville has the highest percentage of Black residents in the state, around 22%, WDRB reported, compared to less than 13% in every other county in the state. 

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