LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – In a significant development in the ongoing legal saga following the 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, a federal judge declared a mistrial in the case against former Louisville Metro Police Department detective Brett Hankison. The jury, after extensive deliberation, failed to reach a unanimous decision.
The trial, which captured national attention, centered on Hankison’s actions during a botched raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment in March 2020. The 12-member jury deliberated for over three days but informed U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings of their inability to reach a consensus, leading to the declaration of a mistrial.
Hankison faced two counts of civil rights violations. These charges were brought forth due to his firing of 10 rounds through Taylor’s apartment window and sliding door, endangering the lives of Taylor and her neighbors. Importantly, although Hankison’s bullets did not strike Taylor, they traveled into a neighboring apartment where a pregnant woman, her boyfriend, and a child were present.
The trial highlighted contrasting narratives: Prosecutors accused Hankison of using excessive force and firing blindly, while his defense team argued his actions were justified as a response to perceived threats from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who fired a shot at police during the raid.
It’s important to note that a previous state jury found Hankison not guilty of wanton endangerment in March 2022. Additionally, former Louisville officer Kelly Goodlett pleaded guilty to falsifying the search warrant that led to the raid. This aspect indicates ongoing complexities in the case, especially in light of the fact that no drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment, and the target of the drug investigation was not present there.
The mistrial has left the door open for a potential retrial. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings scheduled a status conference for December 13 to discuss further proceedings. The outcome has been met with mixed reactions, with Taylor’s family attorney, Lonita Baker, expressing disappointment but also determination to continue seeking justice for Breonna Taylor.