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  • Writer's pictureJaredRIOT

Brett Hankison Civil Rights Violation Trial Begins

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Following the jury selection process the opening arguments and even first witnesses were called to the stand during the fifth day of the Brett Hankison civil rights violation trial.


Video Courtesy of Maxwell Mitchell/Stay Live Streams


Attorney Lonita Baker offered an update and remarks on Thursday following the defense's opening statements in the trial of Brett Hankison civil rights violation trial. Baker along with Sam Aguiar represented Breonna Taylor's family in the wrongful death suit against Louisville Metro Police Department winning a historic $12 million settlement.


"As we know this case involves not just Breonna, but also other people who were impacted by Brett Hankison's reckless behavior and excessive force," Ms. Baker continued, "We look forward to hearing the rest of the evidence put on by the prosecution and at the end of the trial it's our belief that Brett Hankison should be found guilty and should go to prison."

Hankison is facing charges of civil rights offenses for firing his service weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and covered glass door. Hankison is one of the four officers federally charged in connection with the death of Brenna Taylor in March 2020.


Day Four Witnesses

On day four an LMPD sergeant, who's name we can't locate, was reported to have taken the stand as a witness for the prosecution. He says that with Hankison's training and 17 years with the department, he knew better than to blindly fire 10 shots into Taylor's and neighboring apartment.


The defense also called on Chelsey Napper the neighbor to Breonna Taylor and who was home that evening with her boyfriend and five year old and said a stray bullet came with a couple feet of her son.


“I was scared to death, I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know what to think, I couldn’t think,” she said on the stand. “You are supposed to be able to call the police for help, not them shoot through the windows when you are sleeping.”

Hankison’s lawyers argued during opening statements that the former K-9 officer with 17 years of experience was making a “tactical move” when he spun away from Taylor’s front door, ran to the side of the apartment and fired shots through a glass door and bedroom window.


“None of Brett Hankison’s rounds hit anyone. No one,” his attorney, Jack Byrd said during opening arguments Thursday.


Federal prosecutors told the jury that Hankison fired his shots after the gunfire between other officers and Taylor’s boyfriend had stopped. Hankison’s attorneys disputed that there was a pause between the gunfire between officers at the door and Hankison’s shots. None of the officers involved in the raid had turned on their body cameras.




Day Five Witnesses


On day five Deputy Chief Paul Humphries has also been called as a witness and when asked if officers are allowed to shoot blindly, responded with the following, "No. You have to identify what you’re shooting at. Shoot at what you know, not what you think."


Prosecutors also called Breonna Taylor’s sister, Juniyah Palmer, to the stand. She lived with Taylor at the time, but wasn't home the night of the shooting.




Other Witnesses


Former LMPD Detective Myles Cosgrove is expected to testify against Hankison during the trial. Gotfryd said he will testify that Hankison was "reckless" the night of the raid. The jury will also hear from SWAT officer Chris Kitchen who said he saw Hankison jumping and pumping his fist after the deadly shooting.



Hankison's History of Charges

Hankison was the only officer to see charges from the state and was acquitted last year in a wanton endangerment trial. All the officers involved in the botched raid also evaded charges under a grand jury, though at least three of those jurors have come forward accusing Attorney General Daniel Cameron of burying evidence and failing to present the full case.


Hankison has also seen a number of civil suits leveraged against him in his tenure with the LMPD. The details and results of those suits vary.


Jury Details

For more details on the jury selection process, click HERE.


 

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