The mayor of the US city of Louisville, Kentucky said on Friday that one of the three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor will be fired.
Mayor Greg Fisher said interim Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder has started termination proceedings for officer Brett Hankison. Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated.
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Fischer said officials could not answer questions about the firing because of state law. He referred all questions to the Jefferson County attorney’s office.
Taylor, who was Black, was shot by officers who burst into her Louisville home using a “no-knock” warrant on March 13.
She was asleep when the plain-clothes officers conducting a narcotics investigation barged in and exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend.
Taylor, a 26-year-old health worker, was shot eight times. No drugs were found at her home.
Hankison’s firing is because of failure to obey rules and regulations and violating standard procedures for use of force according to the documents from police chief Schroeder to the detective informing of his firing. It gives Hankison an opportunity to respond.
“Your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” the documents read.
The bullets were a threat not only to Taylor but to three occupants in an adjacent apartment.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder wrote, “Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department.”
Hankison was previously disciplined for reckless conduct in January 2019, the document said.
Sam Aguiar, a lawyer for Taylor’s family, said the move was overdue. “It’s about damn time. It should have happened a long time ago, but thankfully it’s at least happening now,” Aguiar said.
“This is an officer that’s 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 Hankinson, because he definitely deserves to at least be charged.”
The warrant to search Taylor’s home was in connection with a suspect who did not live there.
The “no-knock” search warrant, allows police to enter without first announcing their presence.
Louisville’s Metro Council recently voted to ban the use of “no-knock” warrants.
The release in late May of a 911 call by Taylor’s boyfriend marked the beginning of days of protests in Louisville, fuelled by Taylor’s death and the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
“This really confirms why the family has been calling for justice for Breonna Taylor. It’s undisputable [indisputable] evidence,” said Christopher 2X, an anti-violence activist in Louisville.
Beyonce recently joined the call for charges against the officers involved in Taylor’s shooting. The singer said in a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron that the three Louisville police officers “must be held accountable for their actions”.