The only Louisville police officer to be indicted in relation to the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Monday (Sep. 28).
According to USA Today, former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Brett Hankison pleaded not guilty to all three counts of wanton endangerment during his arraignment. Judge Ann Bailey Smith stated that Hankison cannot be in possession of any firearms while waiting for the court’s decision.
Attorney Stewart Mathews requested for his client to be able to have a firearm, citing several alleged threats that Hankison has received. Smith declined the lawyer’s request and said that she does not allow people charged with offenses involving guns to have such weapons.
Last week, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the indictment. In Kentucky, wanton endangerment is classified as a Class D felony. If convicted, the former detective could face up to five years for each count.
The other two officers who were involved in the shooting — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove — were not charged, although Cameron said that Cosgrove fired the shot which ultimately killed Taylor.
The attorney general said the two officers were “justified” in the shooting because Taylor’s boyfriend allegedly shot at them first. The state’s self-defense laws protected Mattingly and Cosgrove from any criminal charges. Hankison, however, “blindly” fired his weapon at Taylor’s apartment and some of the bullets entered the apartments of her neighbors.
Over the weekend, evidence from the case leaked online — including bodycam footage and a ballistics report reportedly proving that Taylor’s boyfriend did not shoot Mattingly in the leg. Interim Chief Robert Schroeder says the department is now working with the attorney general's office and the FBI to see what information they can release to the public without hurting their pending investigation.
Hankison’s next court date is set for Oct. 28.