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“Justice Was Not Served:” Brady Condemns Lack of Action in the Investigation into Breonna Taylor’s Killing

Washington, D.C., September 23, 2020 - Today, Brady condemns the decision of a Grand Jury in Kentucky to charge only former Louisville Police Detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment stemming from the investigation into the March 13 shooting that killed Breonna Taylor. Two additional officers who were present and fired shots that ultimately killed Taylor and injured her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, were not charged.

The charges against Detective Hankison are for wanton endangerment and are for Detective Hankison’s shooting 10 rounds in Taylor’s apartment and into neighboring apartments without a line of sight. The charges are not connected to the actions by all three officers and the shots fired by his fellow officers that killed Breonna Taylor.

Brady President Kris Brown shared:

“This is a terrible dereliction of duty on behalf of the Kentucky judicial system. These officers were directed to Breonna Taylor’s apartment and killed her in her home. Brady called for a transparent and independent investigation into these events, as no person should be killed in their bed. No officers were charged in connection with Breonna’s death. That is unacceptable.”

Brady Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:

“On Breonna Taylor’s birthday, I said that we cannot accept anything less than full accountability in the investigation into her death. Today, the Grand Jury investigating this case delivered the opposite. The charges against Officer Hankison do not address the shots that his fellow officers fired that killed Breonna Taylor. No one has been charged in her death. That is not accountability or legal consequence. Failing to hold anyone accountable for killing Breonna Taylor suggests that her life doesn’t matter. But we know it does. This is a disgraceful decision and one that we cannot accept as the final chapter in this fight for justice. We must be clear here, justice was not served.”

The Team ENOUGH Executive Council shared:

“There is no excuse for the lack of action brought against the officers who killed Breonna Taylor. The charges announced today are for shots fired into neighboring apartments, not those that killed Breonna Taylor. There is no accountability for the actions of the Louisville Police and no justice in this case. This is a wholly unsuitable resolution. We cannot accept anything less than full accountability and clear steps to reform on the part of the Louisville police and justice system.”

Team Enough Executive Council member Aalayah Eastmond shared:

“We have marched for months, calling for all officers who are responsible for Breonna Taylor’s murder to be held to account. The Grand Jury’s decision today has not done so at all, and that is unacceptable. The violence against Breonna Taylor and the violence against Black communities at the hands of police is not an accident. We need systemic and structural change to stop the killings of Black people - especially Black women such as Breonna Taylor. This decision only underscores how much more work needs to be done and how broad that change must be. It is a slap in the face that apartment walls can receive more justice than the life of a Black woman.”

About the Case:

On March 13, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. Three police officers entered her apartment using a battering ram around 1:00 a.m. to serve a ‘no-knock’ search warrant in a narcotics case. The warrant included Breonna Taylor’s apartment, as police believed that the subject of a drug investigation had used her apartment to receive mail.

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep and awoke when the officers entered. Believing that their apartment was being broken into, Walker used his licensed firearm to fire at the intruders. The officers returned fire, shooting 32 rounds into the apartment and killing Taylor. Detective Hankison fired 10 of these rounds, none of which struck Taylor but which did travel into neighboring apartments. Walker was charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer. Those charges have since been dropped.

On May 29, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer suspended all “no-knock” search warrants. On June 3, Mayor Fischer announced that the city would likewise hire an outside firm to review the city’s police department. On June 23, one officer was terminated for his actions in connection to the incident. On September 15, the city of Louisville settled a civil lawsuit with Taylor’s family for $12 million dollars. The settlement also included needed reforms to Louisville Police Department procedure and regulations such as a warning system to identify officers with red flags, new processes for simultaneous search warrants, and negotiation over the publication of officer personnel files. These changes are a much-needed start to the broad and structural changes needed to reform policing and criminal justice in the United States.

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Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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