Trial Begins for Former Police Officer Charged in Raid That Killed Breonna Taylor

The trial of a former Louisville police officer involved in the raid that led to the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor has begun on Feb. 23.

Former police officer Brett Hankinson is in trial for firing through an apartment multiple times despite being unable to see a target during a raid nearly two years ago, prosecutors said in their opening statements.

Prosecutors claimed that Hankinson endangered a couple, Cody Etherton and Chelsey Napper, and their child living next door when he was firing.

“This case is about Cody and his partner, Chelsey, who was seven months pregnant at the time, and their five-year-old son who was sleeping in the bedroom closest to the front door when the bullets ripped through the apartment and out their sliding glass door into the night,” Assistant Kentucky Attorney General Barbara Whaley said before the testimony began.

Whaley reiterated that the trial was not about death of Taylor, a Black woman, or police decisions that led to the raid.

None of the bullets Hankinson fired hit Taylor, 26, who died after being shot multiple times by other officers present in the raid on March 13, 2020.

No officer was charged for Taylor’s death.

The couple and their child were not injured during the raid.

Etherton, the first witness to testify, told the court that he was “one or two inches” away from getting hit by the bullets that penetrated their shared wall.

Etherton described the scene as “chaotic,” “reckless,” and “unorganized.”

Hankinson faces three counts of felony wanton endangerment. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Hankinson pleaded not guilty.

The trial will continue.

On Feb. 25, jurors will view the apartment complex themselves.


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