The police department in Louisville, Kentucky, has fired an officer involved in the deadly shooting of Breonna Taylor, more than three months after the 26-year-old black woman was killed in her home.
A termination letter sent to Detective Brett Hankison released by the city’s police department Tuesday said Hankison violated procedures by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 times into Taylor’s apartment in March. The letter also said Hankison, who is white, violated the rule against using deadly force.
Officers burst into the home Taylor shared with boyfriend Kenneth Walker late at night March 13 using a “no-knock” search warrant during a drug investigation. Walker, who said he didn’t know the people entering their home were police, fired his gun once at the officers, striking one in the leg. The officers opened fire, hitting Taylor eight times.
The warrant to search the home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. The no-knock search warrant, which allows police to enter without first announcing their presence, was recently banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.
The letter said Hankison fired the rounds “without supporting facts” that the deadly force was directed at a person posing an immediate threat.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said in the letter. “Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department.”
Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment as the shooting investigation continues.
Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, previously said the move to fire Hankison was long overdue.
“Let’s hope that this is a start to some good, strong criminal proceedings against Officer Hankison, because he definitely deserves to at least be charged,” Aguiar said.
Protesters calling for justice in Taylor’s shooting have taken their calls to the streets amid the international protests over racism and police violence after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air.