Kentucky Grand Jury Indicts 1 Of 3 Officers Involved In Breonna Taylor's Killing

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville Wednesday, as the city was anticipating the results of a grand jury inquiry into Taylor's killing. (Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images)

By Rachel Treisman and Brakkton Booker | NPR

Following months of outrage, activism and anticipation, a Kentucky grand jury has decided to indict one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.

Brett Hankison, who was terminated in June, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into neighboring apartments. Bond was set at $15,000.

The grand jury did not announce charges against Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, the other two officers involved. None of the three face state charges directly over Taylor's death.

The announcement comes six months after Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed in her home during a botched narcotics raid.

At an afternoon press briefing Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove, who were first fired upon by Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker, "were justified in their use of force."

Walker has maintained he did not hear the officers announce themselves before entering the home. He has said that he mistook them for intruders and fired a warning shot, which hit Mattingly in the leg. Then, officers opened fire.

According to Cameron, "evidence shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment." He cited the officers' statements and one additional witness. There is no video or body camera footage of the officers executing the search warrant, he said.

"While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the fact before us, because our investigation showed, and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their return of deadly fire," Cameron said.

The attorney general said a ballistics report by the FBI determined that Mattingly fired six times and Cosgrove fired 16 times.

He also said there were discrepancies between the investigation carried out by Kentucky State Police and the FBI over which officer fired the shot that killed Taylor.

State investigators could not determine which of the officers killed Taylor, while the FBI found that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, Cameron said.

Cameron said his office will vigorously prosecute the charges brought against Hankison. He could face a maximum sentence of five years for each count. The FBI will continue to investigate potential violations of federal law, the attorney general added.

Shortly after the grand jury returned its indictment, Taylor family attorney Ben Crump expressed disappointment about the decision.

"Jefferson Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor. This is outrageous and offensive," Crump said in a tweet.