Kentucky Police Officer Involved in Breonna Taylor Shooting to Be Fired

The firing of a Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor was announced Friday by the Kentucky city's mayor.

LMPD Chief Rob Schroeder was in the process of launching termination procedures, according to Mayor Greg Fischer. The mayor said he was unable to provide further details regarding when and how the decision to fire Officer Brett Hankison was made.

"Unfortunately, due to a provision in state law that I very much would 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 during a media briefing announcing Hankison's termination.

Breonna Taylor
Women hold signs with Breonna Taylor's photo at a vigil held in Boston's Nubian Square on June 5. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty

The law the mayor referenced states, "When a police officer has been charged with a violation of departmental rules or regulations, no public statements shall be made concerning the alleged violation by any person or persons of the consolidated local government or the police officer so charged, until final disposition of the charges."

Fischer referred further questions regarding the law to Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell. Josh Abner, a spokesperson for O'Connell's office, told Newsweek, "We will provide our opinion to both the mayor and Metro Council regarding obligations under KRS 67C.326."

In a letter the LMPD said it served Hankison on Friday, Schroeder said the officer's "actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor." The chief said this action "created a substantial danger of death and serious injury" to Taylor and three of her neighbors.

Schroeder's letter also said that Hankison violated the department's procedures regarding the use of deadly force and that he was unaware or not in control of where he fired his gun at the time of the March 13 incident. According to the letter, Hankison had been disciplined once before for "reckless conduct that injured an innocent person" about 14 months before Taylor's death.

Schroeder concluded his letter by calling Hankison's actions "extreme violations" of LMPD policies and said they were "a shock to the conscience."

The decision to terminate Hankison was announced one day after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked the public for patience with the ongoing investigation into the shooting. Shortly after Fischer made the news of Hankison's firing public, the FBI's Louisville branch released a statement saying the firing decision was connected to its independent investigation into Taylor's death.

Taylor, 26, was inside her Louisville apartment at the time LMPD officers arrived to serve a no-knock warrant. Though officers later said they were conducting a narcotics investigation at the time, no drugs were found inside the apartment. Taylor's boyfriend, who said he believed the officers were intruders trying to break into the apartment, fired a gun at the officers, who quickly shot back. Taylor was fatally struck in the gunfight that ensued.

Hankison and the two other officers who discharged their weapons in the apartment were later placed on administrative leave. Meanwhile, the detective who initiated the search warrant was reassigned earlier this month. No officers have been charged in the case, despite calls for action by protesters across the U.S. and around the world.

This story has been updated with additional information, background and a comment from Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell's office.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer speaks to a group gathered for a vigil in memory of Breonna Taylor on June 6. On Friday, Fischer announced that one of the officers involved in Taylor's fatal shooting in March had been fired. Brett Carlsen/Getty