A federal judge declared a mistrial on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, after a jury deadlocked on civil rights charges against a former Louisville police officer who fired stray bullets in the raid that left Breonna Taylor dead, the Wall Street Journal reports.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings declared a mistrial in the case after the 12-member, mostly white jury struggled to reach a verdict over several days. Brett Hankison, the former officer, was charged with violating the civil rights of Taylor, her boyfriend and her neighbors when prosecutors said he blindly fired 10 shots into her home. The mistrial could result in a retrial of Hankison, but that would be determined by federal prosecutors at a later date. Hankison, 47, was acquitted by a Kentucky jury last year on wanton endangerment charges. State prosecutors had alleged he illegally put Taylor’s neighbors in danger.
Months after his acquittal last year, the US Department of Justice brought the new charges against Hankison, along with a group of other officers involved in crafting the warrant. The night of the raid, Hankison said he saw the shot from Taylor’s boyfriend in the hallway after her door was breached. He backed up and ran around the corner of the building, firing shots into the side of the apartment.
“I had to react,” he testified. “I had no choice.”