Fired officer in Breonna Taylor case wants trial venue moved

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, February 4, 2021

A former Louisville police officer facing criminal charges in the Breonna Taylor raid said his trial can’t be held in Louisville because of publicity about the case, news outlets report.

Former Louisville Metro Police Detective Brett Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment for firing his weapon into Taylor’s apartment the night she died. Officials have said that none of his shots struck Taylor, but he was charged for endangering Taylor’s neighbors.

In a motion filed this week, Hankison’s attorney argues that a jury pool in Louisville would be “irreparably prejudiced and biased,” making a fair trial difficult or even impossible, The Courier Journal reported.

The police shooting of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, received national coverage throughout the summer and fall of last year. Hankison’s filing also cites billboards purchased by Oprah Winfrey that were placed around Louisville and continuous protests in the city as evidence of the media exposure.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case against Hankison. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the proposed venue change but said the office will file a response with the courts.
Hankison’s trial on three counts of wanton endangerment is set for Aug. 31.

Hankison and two other officers fired 32 shots into Taylor’s home during the March 13 raid after Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot at the officers. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t know police were at the door and he thought an intruder was breaking in. Two other officers who fired their guns were not charged but one of them, Myles Cosgrove, has also been dismissed from the department.