LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Louisville Metro police department has fired one of the police officers involved in the fatal 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 Officer Brett Hankison released by the city’s police department Tuesday said Hankinson violated procedures by showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 rounds of gunfire into Taylor’s apartment in March. The letter also said Hankison, who is white, violated the rule against using deadly force.
Taylor was shot eight times by officers who burst into her Louisville home using a no-knock warrant during a March 13 narcotics investigation. The warrant to search her home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
The no-knock search warrant that 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.”
The announcement comes after Mayor Greg Fischer said last week that Schroeder had started termination proceedings for Hankison while two other officers remain on administrative reassignment as the shooting is investigated.
Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, previously said the move to fire Hankison was long overdue. “It’s about damn time,” he said, adding Hankison was an officer who “plagued our streets and made this city worse for over a dozen years.”
“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 added.
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 Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air.
This month, Beyoncé also joined the call for charges against officers involved in Taylor’s death. The singer sent a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, saying the three Louisville police officers “must be held accountable for their actions.”
“Your office has both the power and the responsibility to bring justice to Breonna Taylor, and demonstrate the value of a Black woman’s life,” said the letter released on the singer’s website.