One of the Louisville Metro Police officers who killed Breonna Taylor is being fired, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Friday. It has been more than three months since police shot and killed the 26-year-old Black woman after entering her home through a “no-knock” warrant during an investigation that was unrelated to her.
The police chief “is initiating termination procedures against Officer Brett Hankison,” Fischer announced.
“Unfortunately, due to a provision in state law that I would very much like to see changed, both the chief and I are precluded from talking about what brought us to this moment or even the timing of this decision,” Fischer said.
Hankison and the two other officers involved in Taylor’s death had been on administrative leave since March, pending an investigation into the shooting. More than three months after the incident, none of them have been arrested or charged.
Police Chief Robert Schroeder sent Hankison a letter Friday, according to local media, in which he informed the officer of “my current intention to terminate your employment with the Louisville Metro Police Department,” citing a review of the investigation.
In the letter, Schroeder said Hankison “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 rounds of bullets into Taylor’s apartment, which “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Schroeder said there was no “immediate threat” to justify such use of deadly force.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion,” Schroeder wrote. “The result of your actions seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”
The police department has also been investigating multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault involving Hankison. Several women have accused him of preying on them at bars under the guise of “driving them home safely.”
Taylor’s death — along with several other recent incidents of police brutality against Black people, including a white Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck — have sparked massive protests and reckonings around the country in recent weeks.