Detective fired over fatal shooting of black woman in her home

A detective in the US has been fired over the fatal shooting of a black woman in her home – as his police chief told him: “I find your conduct a shock to the conscience.”

Breonna Taylor was shot eight times when officers burst into her home in Louisville, Kentucky during a drugs investigation in March, but no drugs were found at the property.

On Tuesday it was confirmed Detective Brett Hankison has been been sacked over the deadly incident in March following widespread protests.

A demonstrator holds a sign with the image of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers, during a protest against the death George Floyd in Minneapolis, in Denver, Colorado on June 3, 2020. - US protesters welcomed new charges brought Wednesday against Minneapolis officers in the killing of African American man George Floyd -- but thousands still marched in cities across the country for a ninth straight night, chanting against racism and police brutality. (Photo by Jason Connolly / AFP) (Photo by JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:A demonstrator holds a sign with an image of Breonna Taylor

Two other officers involved in the incident remain on administrative leave.

A lawyer for Ms Taylor’s family has called for criminal charges to be brought against the officers.

Louisville Metro Police Department published a letter addressed to Mr Hankison confirming his employment with the force has been terminated.

The letter, signed by police chief Robert Schroeder, said the detective’s actions “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” after he “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment” of Ms Taylor.

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The rounds fired by Mr Hankison “created a substantial danger of death and serious injury” to the 26-year-old and three other people living in the apartment next to hers, Mr Schroeder wrote.

The police chief said Mr Hankison had violated standard operating procedure on the use of deadly force by “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Ms Taylor’s property.

— LMPD (@LMPD) June 23, 2020

He added that the shots were fired “without supporting facts” that the deadly force was directed at a person posing an immediate threat.

The 10 rounds were fired into a patio door and window which were covered with material preventing Mr Hankison from verifying an immediate threat “or more importantly any innocent persons present”, Mr Schroeder said.

Some of the gunshots went into the apartment next to Ms Taylor’s property, he added.

The letter also stated that Mr Hankison had previously been disciplined for “reckless conduct that injured an innocent person” in January 2019.

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“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Mr Schroeder wrote.

“I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.

“Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the department.

“I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

“Your conduct demands your termination.”

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Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Ms Taylor’s family, has called for criminal charges against all the officers involved.

He tweeted: “We demand Kentucky (attorney general) Daniel Cameron file criminal charges against all the officers in this case. We expect nothing less.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer revealed last week that police had started termination proceedings for Mr Hankison.

At the time, Sam Aguiar, a lawyer for Ms Taylor’s family, said the move was overdue.

“It’s about damn time,” he said.

“It should have happened a long time ago, but thankfully it’s at least happening now.”

Beyonce recently joined calls for charges against the officers involved in Ms Taylor’s shooting.

Beyonce Knowles-Carter
Image:Beyonce said the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s shooting ‘must be held accountable’

The pop superstar said in a letter to state attorney general Daniel Cameron that the three police officers “must be held accountable for their actions”.

The warrant to search the home of Ms Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was in connection with a suspect who did not live there.

Police used a no-knock search warrant, which allows them to enter without announcing their presence.

Louisville’s Metro Council has since voted to ban the use of no-knock warrants.

A 911 call by Ms Taylor’s boyfriend was released last month and marked the beginning of days of protests in the Kentucky city, fuelled by her death and that of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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