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Mistrial Declared In Trial Of Officer Charged In Raid That Killed Breonna Taylor

In the trial of a former Louisville police officer charged in the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor, jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict on federal civil rights charges Thursday, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial, according to the Associated Press. Brett Hankison was charged with using excessive force that violated the rights of Taylor, her boyfriend, and her next-door neighbors. Hankison fired 10 shots into the Black woman’s window and a glass door after officers came under fire during a flawed drug warrant search on March 13, 2020. Some of those shots flew into a neighboring apartment, but did not strike anyone. Over several days, the 12-member, mostly white jury struggled to reach a verdict over several days. On Thursday afternoon, they sent a note to the judge saying they were at an impasse. After urgings by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings to keep trying, they returned to deliberations.

The judge reported “elevated voices” coming from the jury room during deliberations, and instances where court security officials had to visit the room. Jurors then told the judge Thursday they were deadlocked on both counts against Hankison, and could not come to a decision, prompting Jennings’ declaration of a mistrial. The mistrial could result in a retrial of Hankison, but that would be determined by federal prosecutors at a later date. Before the mistrial was declared, the lead federal prosecutor, Michael Songer, said in court that it would take “enormous resources … to retry this case.“ Jennings said she believed the jury would not be able to reach a verdict. “I think the totality of the circumstances may be beyond repair in this case,” the judge said. “They have a disagreement that they cannot get past.” Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said afterward that Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was disappointed with the outcome but remained encouraged “because a mistrial is not an acquittal. And so we live another day to fight for justice for Breonna."


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