On September 23, 2020, knowing that there would be backlash for their decision, streets in downtown Louisville were blocked off officials, police put on high alert, and government buildings were boarded up as officials announced the charges against former officer Brett Hankison for his role in the raid which left Breonna Taylor dead.
The subsequent outrage was well deserved as Hankison was not charged for anything that led to the death of Taylor. Instead, this trigger happy cowboy cop was charged with “first degree wanton endangerment” for shooting like a madman which led to taxpayer-funded bullets flying into neighboring apartments during the raid.
In March, somehow, Hankison was found not guilty on the three counts of wanton endangerment in a move that led to another round of protests.
Now, former officer Hankison is having all mention of these charges erased from public record—as if he never fired recklessly into the home of innocent Breonna Taylor at all.
As part of a Kentucky law passed in 2020, criminal cases in which a defendant is found not guilty are supposed to be automatically expunged within 60 days.
Hankison’s attorney, Stew Mathews, said his case was ordered expunged by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith in late May. Once this process is complete, there will be no record of the trial, no record of testimonies, and all other records will be seal—not only from the public—but from police, prosecutors and the judge.
Despite Taylor being completely innocent and murdered while unarmed inside of her own home, and despite her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, being ruled justified in shooting at the officers during the raid—not a single cop will face consequences for her death.
On the contrary, however, the Free Thought Project has examined multiple reports and over 200 people have been arrested protesting Taylor’s death in Louisville alone. In just one night, after the lack of charges were announced, police arrested 127 people in Louisville for protesting. While a handful of the arrests were for actual crimes, the majority of arrests were for curfew violations and protesting without permission—otherwise known as unlawful assembly.
Journalists were not safe either as we saw multiple reports of journalist facing rubber bullets and arrest as well.
As we reported at the time, Hankison and other officers fired more than 20 rounds at Taylor and her boyfriend that night in a botched raid, looking for non-existent drugs.
According to Breonna’s boyfriend—who was originally charged with murder—Taylor did not die after being shot. Instead she struggled to catch her breath, in dire need of help, which the police refused to offer, in spite of Walker begging them for it.
“(Police are) yelling like, ‘Come out, come out,’ and I’m on the phone with her (mom). I’m still yelling ‘help’ because she’s over here coughing and, like, I’m just freaking out,” Walker said in a recorded police interview 3 hours after the shooting, as reported by USA Today.
Dispatch logs reveal that absolutely no effort was made to save Breonna’s life that night and after she was fatally shot, she lay where she fell in her hallway for over 20 minutes.
“Breonna, who was unarmed in her hallway, was struck by several rounds of gunfire. She was not killed immediately,” attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker wrote in a revised lawsuit filed on behalf of Taylor’s family. “Rather, she lived for another five to six minutes before ultimately succumbing to her injuries on the floor of her home.”
Instead of helping the innocent EMT they just filled with holes, officers devoted their resources to applying a tourniquet to Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly’s leg after Walker shot him, thinking he was an intruder.
Given the fact that the department refused to investigate or charge the officers involved in Taylor’s death, it should come as no surprise that this same system would wipe the official record, essentially declaring that Taylor’s death never happened.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.