Federal Judge Declares Mistrial In Ex-Cop's Trial Over Breonna Taylor Killing

A jury deadlocked on the civil rights charges against former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison, who is accused of using excessive force in the deadly 2020 raid.
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A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former Louisville police officer who fired stray bullets in the high-profile deadly 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor.

The judge made the decision on Thursday to declare the mistrial after a jury deadlocked on the civil rights charges against Brett Hankison, who is accused of using excessive force that violated Taylor’s rights, and that of her boyfriend and next door neighbors.

Taylor, who was a 26-year-old Black woman studying to be a nurse, was shot to death in her home by Louisville officers who executed a “no-knock” drug search warrant on the wrong apartment on March 13, 2020. Taylor and her partner, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping at the time of the raid, and Walker fired one shot at a police officer’s leg thinking they were intruders.

Hankison is accused of moving from Taylor’s doorway and firing 10 shots into her bedroom window and a sliding glass door, both of which were covered with blinds and curtains. Some of the bullets entered a neighboring apartment, though none of them hit anyone.

Louisville police fired Hankison for his actions, and the former officer was charged at the state level with three counts of wanton endangerment.

Months after a Kentucky jury acquitted Hankison of the charges, the Justice Department brought new charges against him, as well as a group of other officers involved in falsifying the warrant.

Over several days, the mostly white jury struggled to come to a verdict in Hankison’s case, with U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings reporting “elevated voices” from the jury room throughout the week, according to The Associated Press. On Thursday, the 12-person jury told her they were deadlocked on both counts against Hankison.

The mistrial could result in another trial for Hankison, depending on federal prosecutors’ actions. The charges against the former officer carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Myles Cosgrove, the officer who did hit Taylor while shooting into the apartment, was fired but never convicted in her death. He now works at a sheriff’s department an hour away from Louisville.

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