News World US grand jury indicts one police officer in Breonna Taylor’s death
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US grand jury indicts one police officer in Breonna Taylor’s death

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A criminal charge has been handed down to just one of three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

This was “not fully what we wanted”, the family’s attorney Ben Crump tweeted after a Kentucky grand jury indicted Brett Hankison for shooting into neighbouring apartments – and not Ms Taylor’s home.

That’s despite him firing 10 shots during the police raid on the night of March 13, which resulted in her death.

No charges were announced against the other two other officers who along with Hankison fired more than two dozen bullets into Ms Taylor’s Louisville home as she and her boyfriend were asleep.

And, not a single officer was charged for causing her death.

Hankison, who was fired in June, is facing three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment in connection to the raid.

One charge of wanton endangerment carries a prison sentence of up to five years. At most, Hankison would serve 15 years if he is convicted on all three counts.

Neither the grand jury nor the presiding judge elaborated further on the charges.

A guilty charge of first-degree wanton endangerment, according to the Kentucky government website, means that person was found to have engaged in conduct that created “a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person”.

Kent Wicker, the lawyer for Sergeant Jon Mattingly, who got off scot free, said the jury’s decision not to charge his client “shows that the system worked and that grand jurors recognised and respected the facts of the case”.

“The death of Breonna Taylor is a tragedy. But these officers did not act in a reckless or unprofessional manner,” Mr Wicker said.

“They did their duty, performed their roles as law enforcement officers and, above all, did not break the law.”

The decision to charge just one officer was described by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky as “the latest miscarriage of justice”.

“Once again, a prosecutor has refused to hold law enforcement accountable for killing a young black woman,” it tweeted.

Protesters have consistently pressured the presiding judge to act, and celebrities and professional athletes had joined them in calling on Kentucky attorney-general Daniel Cameron to charge the police who shot Ms Taylor.

At one point, demonstrators converged on Mr Cameron’s house and were charged with felonies for trying to intimidate him.

A Republican, Mr Cameron is Kentucky’s first black state attorney-general. He is also a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and has been tagged by some as Mr McConnell’s heir apparent.

Ms Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant in a narcotics investigation.

A large-scale ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor. Photo: Getty

The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.

-with AAP