(NEW YORK) — A mistrial was declared Thursday by a judge in the federal case against former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison who was charged with violating the civil rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend who was in the house with her, and their neighbors the night Taylor was killed in a botched 2020 police raid.
The jury began to deliberate on Monday.
Hankison was charged in a two-count indictment for deprivation of rights under color of law, both of which are civil rights offenses in August 2022. According to court documents, he was charged with willfully depriving Taylor and Kenneth Walker, the boyfriend of Taylor, of their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from a police officer’s use of unreasonable force during a seizure.
According to court transcripts, he was also charged with willfully depriving Taylor’s neighbors Chelsey Napper, Cody Etherton, and Zayden Flournoy of their right to be free from the deprivation of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to be free from a police officer’s use of unjustified force that shocks the conscience.
In court testimony, Hankison stated that he did not have a clear target as he fired 10 rounds into the side wall of Taylor’s apartment in March 2020. The bullets also went through a neighbor’s apartment.
“I could not,” Hankison replied when asked by the prosecution if he could see an outline of a person through the window blinds when he fired his shots. He added that he could not see an actual person or weapon, according to court documents.
Hankison claimed that he saw muzzle flashes coming from inside the home and believed the threat was moving up the hallway and advancing on the officers from Hankison’s position outside, according to court transcripts.
“You weren’t there,” Hankison told prosecutors. “You don’t know what I saw …”
Hankison stated that he now knows that the muzzle flashes were coming from his fellow officers who were standing in the doorway of the apartment’s front entrance, according to court documents. Hankison said, at the time, he thought his fellow officers were being executed.
The prosecutor stated that Hankison’s spent shell casings were not found near the sidewalk close to the home where Hankison claimed to be when he fired. They were found behind a gray truck in the parking lot, according to court transcripts.
The prosecution referenced testimonies from former Sgt. John Mattingly and Taylor’s neighbor Etherton stated that there was a pause after the officers in the doorway finished shooting and when Hankison began firing his 10 rounds from the side of the apartment, according to court documents.
The defense said the prosecution took Mattingly and Etherton’s statements out of context and didn’t have the necessary evidence to claim there was a pause between Hankison’s fellow officers’ shots and his own gunfire, according to court transcripts. Hankison said he stopped shooting after he saw there were no more muzzle flashes inside the apartment. He testified that he thought he neutralized the threat.
The prosecution argued if the officers had stopped shooting before Hankison began, there would have been no muzzles for him to see and target, making his shooting unjustified, according to court documents.
The federal trial was the second attempt to convict Hankison for his actions when Taylor was killed by police after they rammed through her apartment door on March 13, 2020, at around 12:45 a.m. Hankison was acquitted of multiple wanton endangerment charges in a state trial last year. None of his bullets struck anyone.
ABC News’ Nadine El-Bawab, Alexander Mallin, Jack Date, and Amanda Su contributed to this report.
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