Report: Brett Hankison told to ‘back out’ of Breonna Taylor’s apartment following raid

Indicted former LMPD detective may have violated departmental procedures

Report: Brett Hankison told to ‘back out’ of Breonna Taylor’s apartment following raid
Former Det. Brett Hankison was booked into the Shelby County Detention Center, then released, on Wednesday. (Source: Shelby County Detention Center)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - New reports suggest LMPD officers may have violated department protocols the night of the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment.

Narcotics officers shot and killed the 26-year-old woman in her Louisville home after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a single shot thinking intruders, not officers, were breaking into the apartment back in March.

VICE.com released video and documents over the weekend that depict a post-raid investigation that may not have been performed with full adherence to departmental procedures.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” an anonymous former LMPD narcotics officer who watched portions of the video told VICE. “This is not how it’s supposed to work.”

For example, LMPD’s standard operating procedures require an officer involved in a shooting be taken from the scene by an “officer escort” to the department’s Public Integrity Unit office.

But in one of the videos obtained by VICE, then-Det. Brett Hankison is seen not only without an escort but walking around in the doorway of the apartment, pointing a flashlight into the unit, and asking about the presence of guns.

“I’d back out until they get PIU in here,” another officer was heard telling Hankison in the video obtained by VICE.

Hankison was fired in June for “blindly” firing 10 rounds into the apartment from outside. He was also the only officer charged last week when Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced the findings of his months-long investigation. Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing several of those rounds into neighboring apartments.

Sgt. Jon Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove also fired their guns that night -- 22 times between them -- but were cleared of any wrongdoing in Cameron’s ruling. LMPD has no official list of fire-able offenses, but the trio was immediately placed on administrative reassignment following the shooting, per department protocol.

Nobody has been directly charged in Taylor’s death, which has sparked local protests and a national outcry demanding police reform.

(Story continues below the video)

VICE also reported that a short time after Hankison exited the apartment, he approached another officer and asked if his body camera was on before the video cut out.

Det. Brett Hankison
Det. Brett Hankison

Another section included in the VICE report published Saturday pointed to further violation by Hankison:

“Hankison deviated from the standard protocol when he traveled unattended to University of Louisville Hospital having contact with CID command and Police Chief Steve Conrad,” read the PIU’s investigative file that VICE obtained.

Then the LMPD Chief, Conrad told investigators five days after the raid that he “was surprised” to see Hankison at the hospital following the shooting.

“The typical response is that someone from Public Integrity is usually tasked with keeping up with the officers involved to make sure that they get back here,” Conrad said in his interview, which was part of the PIU file obtained by VICE.

Facing heavy criticism about the Taylor killing, Conrad announced in May that he would retire in June, but another law-enforcement-related shooting death of a Black citizen led to his termination on June 1.

VICE said it reviewed video from 45 different body cameras. LMPD has maintained there is no officer body-camera video from the raid itself, only the aftermath.

The PIU shared its report with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. Another LMPD investigation, this one by its Professional Standards Unit, is ongoing and could result in discipline or even jail time if it’s determined that officers violated department protocols or committed civil rights violations.

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Posted by WAVE 3 News on Monday, September 28, 2020

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