The officer who killed Breonna Taylor has been fired, but it's far from justice
More than 100 days ago, Lousiville ER technician Breonna Taylor was killed by police in her own home and little to nothing has been done about it. On Tuesday, however, a tiny step toward justice came when the Louisville Police Department arrested one of the three police officers involved in the shooting. The LMPD issued a letter to Detective Brett Hankison, informing him that his employment was terminated, effective immediately—and shared the full two-page letter, which details Hankison’s violations, on Twitter.
Chief of Police Robert J. Schroeder wrote, “I have determined you violated Standard Operating Procedure 5.1.2 Obedience to Rules and Regulations when your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.”
Schroeder also informed Hankison of his violation of a second standard operation procedure, with 10 counts of the use of deadly force. After condemning Hankison for his actions, specifically his failure “to be cognizant of the direction in which your firearm was discharged,” the chief of police went on to write about how his behavior has “severely damaged the image” of the police department and how it conflicts with the LMPD’s goal of providing “professional law enforcement.”
Much of the letter resembled a previous letter Schroeder released on June 19th, in which he wrote his “intention to terminate” Hankison’s employment.
The letter didn’t mention the other two officers involved in the shooting, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, or what plans the department has, if any, to hold them accountable. Neither Mattingly or Cosgrove have been fired. To this day, the only arrest made related to the shooting has been against Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who used a legally-owned gun in defense. After pressure from petitions, calls, and emails, these charges were dropped.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, told CNN the family was encouraged to get the news of Hankison’s termination, but that the firing was just one step along the fight for justice.
“We’re waiting for the other officers to be held accountable and for additional charges to be filed but this is a step in the right direction,” she said.