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Hours after a Louisville, Ky., grand jury returned an indictment against a single police officer in the death of Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman shot to death in her apartment the night of March 13, MSNBC host Joy Reid asked some key questions about the case that don’t all add up.
Former officer Brett Hankinson has been charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, a Class D felony in the state, for shooting into a neighboring apartment. As The New York Times clarifies, none of the officers involved were charged for causing Taylor’s death, and according to The Appeal, a Class D felony is punishable by between one and five years in prison.
The lack of indictments directly tied to Taylor’s death Wednesday sparked protests Wednesday night in Louisville and elsewhere in the United States.
Officers came to Taylor’s apartment in the early morning hours of March 13 where she was asleep with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. According to the Associated Press, police had a warrant to search Taylor’s apartment as part of a drug investigation, though the family’s lawsuit states the suspect in the investigation had already been detained at the time of the search.
Police believed one of the suspects was using Taylor’s apartment to “receive mail, keep drugs, or stash money earned from the sale of drugs,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
A lawsuit brought by Taylor’s family states Taylor and Walker believed the plainclothes police were breaking into the apartment since they entered “without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers.” A judge had signed a “no-knock” provision for the police, meaning they were able to go into Taylor’s apartment without identifying themselves, though police claim they did. Walker shot at a police officer in what he says was self-defense. Police then fired into the apartment, hitting Taylor eight times. The suit says Taylor was unarmed and Walker had a license to carry. The lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family also states that neighbors have confirmed the police did not knock or identify themselves before entering.
The city is paying Taylor’s family $12 million to settle the lawsuit.
MSNBC’s Reid broke down the facts of the case that don’t all make sense.
“We have Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, who was also a victim here. He was shot at because he tried to defend Breonna Taylor and defend that apartment for his trouble he got shot at. But these trained officers didn’t even hit him,” Reid said. “They didn’t hit him with one bullet. These trained police officers only shot her; that’s weird. And didn’t render her aid.
“You have Breonna Taylor’s ex, who was the person that was the subject of this, that was already in custody. They go into an apartment where a no-knock warrant, but they’re saying they announced themselves. How is that a-knock warrant?” she added. “Then they say, ‘You, ex-boyfriend, will say that Breonna Taylor was part of a crime we’ll let you off.’ He said, ‘I’m not doing that.’ This does not strike me as a normal case, because none of it makes sense.
“How can it be possible that a no-knock warrant includes them saying they knocked? And how can it be that these officers are serving a search warrant at 12:30 in the morning, is that normal? And why did these officers coalesce around a story where they said we did the right and ethical things?”
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