One officer indicted in Breonna Taylor case, but use of force by two other officers was 'justified' (Update)

Today a grand jury indicted one of three police officers involved in the Breonna Taylor case but as you’ll see in a moment these charges apparently have nothing to do with the shots that killed Taylor. Former officer Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, is being charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment:

Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges against former Louisville police Sgt. Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, during a grand jury proceeding. A warrant will be issued for his arrest, O’Connell said.

Two other officers involved in the March 13 incident, Myles Cosgrove and Jonathan Mattingly, were not charged. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday to address the charges against Hankison.

The wanton endangerment charge is a class D felony and carries a possible sentence of 1 to 5 years.

Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired one shot as police broke down her front door that night. Walker claims he didn’t know it was police at the door because they failed to identify themselves. The police say they did announce themselves and the AG says there is a witness to back that up. The AG also says Walker’s shot hit Officer Mattingly in the leg, seriously injuring him. Kenneth Walker’s attorney has claimed in a civil suit that the shot that hit Mattingly may have been friendly fire from one of the other officers at the scene. However, today the AG revealed that the bullet that struck Mattingly was a 9mm round while the officers weapons all used .40 caliber rounds.

In other words, Walker shot first and hit a police officer. That prompted Mattingly and Cosgrove to return fire and Taylor was ultimately hit by six bullets and killed. The fatal shot was allegedly fired by Cosgrove.

All of that leads me to this passage from the Courier Journal about what exactly Hankison was charged with:

The charges read by Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday said that Hankison “wantonly shot a gun” into three apartments.

The occupants of those apartments were identified by initials.

None of them were BT — Breonna Taylor. That means it appears the grand jury did not find that Hankison wantonly fired into Taylor’s apartment the night she died.

The video of the judge’s announcement is below and sure enough it appears Hankison is not being charged with wanton endangerment for shots he may have fired into Breonna Taylor’s apartment only for those he apparently fired into three other apartments. As you’ll see a bit later in this clip, Walker’s attorney concludes there were essentially no charges brought for the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor’s family has been pressing for, at a minimum, manslaughter charges against the officers involved.

After the announcement from the judge, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made a statement about the charges. He said he had met with Taylor’s family to share with them the results and called it a “tragedy” and a “gut-wrenching” case.

In a news conference following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision, Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, said, “The decision before my office is not to decide if the loss of Breonna Taylor’s life was a tragedy — the answer to that question is unequivocally yes,” he said.

He later added, “I know that not everyone will be satisfied. Our job is to present the facts to the grand jury, and the grand jury then applies the facts,” he said, adding: “If we simply act on outrage, there is no justice — mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”

AG Cameron also said, “I think it is worth repeated again that our investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker.”

We’ll have to wait and see what the response to this announcement is. Federal buildings have already been boarded up and shut down for the week and police declared an emergency Monday to allow them to prepare for possible riots. Tuesday the city was placed under a state of emergency and a 25-block area was closed to traffic. The Mayor has also announced a curfew:

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has put a 72-hour curfew in place in Louisville, effective Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., and LMPD interim Chief Robert Schroeder confirmed that Kentucky National Guard members would be in the city following Cameron’s announcement.

Here’s the Kentucky AG’s full statement:

Update: The protests have already started and as you can see in this clip the view of what happened on the street is pretty different from what the AG described. In this case, she leaves out the part where Kenneth Walker shot a police officer.

It’s not even dark yet and things are heating up.