• The Louisville Metro Police Department began the firing process for Officer Brett Hankison for his involvement in Breonna Taylor's shooting on March 13
  • The other two officers involved, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, remain on administrative reassignment
  • Hankison has been accused of sexual assault by two women who said he drove them home from bars 

The Louisville (Kentucky) Metro Police Department began the firing process Friday for one of the three officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor, the EMT who was shot to death in her apartment as police tried to serve a no-knock warrant in a drug investigation. Interim Chief Robert Schroeder said he notified Officer Brett Hankison of his firing in a letter.

“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion,” Schroeder said in the letter.

“The result of your action seriously impedes the department's goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”

Mayor Greg Fischer echoed Schroeder’s letter at a press conference. He said state laws and the ongoing investigation prohibited either from speaking further on the shooting.

“Unfortunately, due to a provision in state law that I would very much like to see changed, both the chief and I are precluded from talking about what brought us to this moment or even the timing of this decision,” Fischer said.

Neither commented on Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, both of whom are still on administrative reassignment.

Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, said the firing, though welcome, was just the “first step” in getting justice for Taylor.

“This is a long overdue first step toward justice. We must also understand how an officer like Hankison makes it onto the merit board, given his troubled history with operating procedure,” Reynolds told reporters after the press conference. “It is right that he would be fired for killing Breonna and if justice had to be delayed we are thankful that it started on Juneteenth. We are not where we should be but we have started the March to justice.”

Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020, when Louisville police executed a no-knock warrant on the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Police said the warrant was in connection with an investigation into two local drug dealers they suspected had packages sent to Taylor’s residence.

Police said Mattingly, Hankison and Cosgrove, dressed in plain cloths, knocked on the door and identified themselves as police before entering. When they did, Walker fired and struck one officer in the leg. The three officers fired back in response, striking Taylor eight times. She was pronounced dead at the scene and Walker was taken into custody.

However, Walker pushed back on the original police report, saying the officers did not identify themselves. He said they were awakened by loud knocks on their door and asked who it was. When no one responded, he picked up his licensed handgun and aimed it at the door. The shooting followed.

Walker was initially charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer, but the charges were dropped as more information was released.

In the wake of the shooting, Hankison became a focal point of the case when multiple women accused him of sexual assault. Two women said they met Hankison at bars, and he offered them each rides home because they were drinking.

One, identified as Margo Borders, said Hankison sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. The second, identified as Emily Terry, said Hankison assaulted her while driving her home, and she fled the car when they pulled up in front of her apartment building.

“Given the very serious allegations against him and investigations by the attorney general and the FBI, it is profoundly inappropriate for him to be in this role,” Fischer said in a public letter to the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614, which represents Hankison.

“In the event the FOP does not act, we will work with the Metro Council and Jefferson County Attorney’s Office to find other ways to remove him from the board.”

A protest in Marseille last week -- just one of numerous recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality in France
A protest in Marseille last week -- just one of numerous recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality in France AFP / CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU