Former US police detective Brett Hankison testified in his personal defence on Wednesday in regards to the botched police raid in Louisville, Kentucky, that left Breonna Taylor lifeless in March 2020.
Hankison stated the gunfire started with a muzzle flash that illuminated a shadowy silhouette, and he thought it was somebody firing an automated rifle at his fellow officers.
Hankison is on trial for firing bullets that went into an adjoining residence, endangering a pregnant neighbour, her younger baby and her boyfriend.
Not one of the cops concerned within the killing of Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed Black girl, who was sleeping in her mattress in the course of the raid, have been charged along with her demise.
Requested if he did something fallacious in the course of the raid, Hankison replied: “Completely not”, regardless that he acknowledged firing into the window and patio door. As for Taylor, he stated, “She didn’t have to die that evening.”
Breonna Taylor’s mom, Tamika Palmer, then stormed out of the courtroom.
Hankison stated that as a police battering ram broke open Taylor’s door, the blast of a gun lit up the residence’s hallway and his fellow officer fell wounded within the doorway. He stated he thought the muzzle flash matched that of a protracted rifle, however no rifle was discovered within the residence.
“The percussion from that muzzle flash I may really feel,” Hankison stated, apparently struggling to take care of his composure as he described police Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly taking place from a bullet wound.
Taylor’s taking pictures by police serving a narcotics warrant at her residence sparked months of Black Lives Matter protests in Louisville and throughout america, as demonstrators known as for the officers to be charged in her demise.
Prosecutors forged doubt on whether or not Hankison may see by way of the entrance door and why he retreated to fireplace into the facet of Taylor’s residence.
Hankison testified earlier within the day that he determined “to get out of that deadly funnel as shortly as potential and get to a location the place I can return rounds”, so he ran round a nook the place he may see extra muzzle flashes by way of a sliding glass door and a bed room window, regardless of their closed blinds and curtains.
“I knew Sergeant Mattingly was down and I knew they have been attempting to get to him and it appeared to me they have been being executed with this rifle,” Hankison stated. “I assumed I may put rounds by way of that bed room window and cease the menace.”
Investigators later decided just one spherical was fired by Taylor’s boyfriend, who stated he thought an intruder was breaking in. The opposite 32 bullets fired within the raid got here from police.
Throughout an hour-long cross-examination, a prosecutor requested Hankison why, if he noticed a menace, he didn’t fireplace when he was at Taylor’s entrance door.
“You knew you needed to reply, however you didn’t reply,” stated Barbara Maines Whaley, an assistant state legal professional normal.
“I didn’t reply as a result of we have been in that funnel,” Hankison replied.
“Weren’t you involved when you fired by way of the sliding door you would possibly hit your fellow officers?” Whaley requested. “Completely not,” Hankison replied.
“Did you are feeling responsible about leaving your fellow officers within the deadly funnel?” Whaley requested.
“No,” Hankison replied.
Hankison was one in every of solely two witnesses known as by his lawyer earlier than they completed his defence on Wednesday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.
Hankison is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment, a felony that carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years.
The prosecution completed presenting its case on Tuesday with testimony from Chelsey Napper, who known as 911 after Hankison’s gunfire ripped by way of her residence, which shared a typical wall with Taylor’s.
Hankison is charged with endangering Napper, her 5-year-old son and her boyfriend, Cody Etherton, whereas his fellow officers shot at Taylor’s boyfriend in the course of the raid subsequent door.
Hankison was fired by police for taking pictures “blindly” in the course of the raid on March 13, 2020. He fired 10 photographs, none of which hit Taylor or her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Walker instructed investigators that he had fired a single shot with a handgun as a result of he thought intruders have been breaking in. Walker’s bullet hit Mattingly within the leg, and Mattingly and one other officer, Myles Cosgrove, opened fireplace in response, killing Taylor.