LOGAN — Protests and riots across the country, and some internationally, have stemmed from the recent deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement.
One of these recent shootings by law enforcement led to the death of 26-year-old Louisville resident Breonna Taylor.
On Friday, March 13 at 12:30 a.m., three plain-clothed Louisville Metro Police Officers entered the apartment of Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, after receiving a search warrant to reportedly further investigate possible drugs being transported from the apartment.
According to a lawsuit filed by Taylor’s family, Walker thought the officers were intruders and fired at them first. Louisville Police have stated that one officer was struck in the leg, leading them to respond with their own shots. Several news outlets have reported that 20 or more shots were fired by the officer, eight of which struck and killed Taylor.
After one death and one reported injury, officers found no drugs in the apartment. Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but charges against him were dropped in May. The warrant the officers received was for two individuals, neither of which were Taylor or Walker.
Of the roughly 20 rounds fired, 10 of them were fired by LMPD detective Brett Hankison, who is a former resident of Logan.
The Logan-Hocking School District confirmed that Hankison was a 1994 graduate of Logan High School, even serving as an athlete for the school, playing on the Chieftain football team.
Hankison was with LMPD for about 17 years before receiving his termination letter from Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday. Hankison has 10 days to appeal the termination.
LMPD posted Hankison’s termination letter on Twitter. In the letter, it states that Hankison violated procedures when he displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when he blindly fired 10 rounds in Taylor’s apartment that not only killed Taylor, but traveled into an adjacent apartment where three people lived.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” wrote Schroeder. “Your conduct has severely damaged the image of our department we have established within our community. The result of your actions seriously impedes the department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”
Not only has the incident sparked outrage with those who see this as a racially charged incident, it has also sparked some concern about officers entering homes without knocking.
According to the Louisville Courier Journal, a judge granted the officers a no-knock warrant. Cornell Law School defines a no-knock warrant as a search warrant authorizing police officers to enter certain premises without first knocking and announcing their presence or purpose prior to entering the premises.
In initial stories that came out about the incident, a lieutenant for LMPD stated that the officers identified themselves before they entered, but the Taylor family lawsuit denies that claim. There was no body camera footage of the incident.
As of Friday, no charges have been filed against Hankison. LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and detective Myles Cosgrove were placed on administrative reassignment after the shooting with no further action currently taken.
The Louisville branch of the FBI released a statement last Friday that they are conducting an independent investigation into all aspects of the death of Breonna Taylor.