Mistrial declared in Brett Hankison federal civil rights case

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked over whether to acquit or convict Brett Hankison.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 4:57 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked over whether to acquit or convict former LMPD Detective Brett Hankison.

Hankison was tried for violating the Constitutional rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend, and three neighbors in the adjoining apartment on March 13, 2020, during a raid at Taylor’s apartment when he fired through two covered windows.

His bullets shattered furniture and wall hangings and punched through the drywall into the neighboring apartment, but did not injure anyone. He was shooting at what he testified was a figure holding an AR-15 rifle illuminated by muzzle flashes.

His shots followed officers returning fire at Kenneth Walker, who fired a single shot at police when an officer burst open the front door to serve a search warrant. His single shot struck Sgt. John Mattingly in the leg.

Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire. Cosgrove’s shots killed Breonna Taylor.

The government described Hankison’s actions as extreme and brought in other police officers to testify against Hankison’s actions.

The defense said Hankinson was reacting as any normal police officer would, trying to save his fellow officers.

“Of course, the family is disappointed,” Lonita Baker, a spokesperson for Breonna Taylor’s family said. “This is not the outcome they wanted, but we are here for the long game. Just as the prosecutors plan to re-try Brett Hankison, we intend to be here when that re-trial takes place.”

Louisville activist April Hearn sat through the entire trial and says she was frustrated that the jury couldn’t come to a decision. Hearn said one of the most compelling parts of the trial was the officers who were brought in to testify against Hankison’s actions.

“At least believe the officer’s testimonies, when they were outraged, when they were angry,” she said. “These are his peers.”

Like Taylor’s family, she’s focused on a re-trial in the case.

“We already had a trial where justice should’ve been served,” Hearn said. “So the whole time I’m thinking why are we here again? I’m glad that we are, but then we get to this result. But it’s not over and I want Brett Hankinson to know that it’s not over.”

A December hearing has been set to determine whether the federal government will attempt to re-try the case.

The government has two other cases pending against former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany.

A third case against Kelly Hannah Goodlett awaits sentencing after she accepted a plea deal with the government in exchange for testifying.

FULL COVERAGE: Breonna Taylor

This story will be updated.