Brett Hankison was accused of using excessive force in violation of the rights of Breonna Taylor, her boyfriend and their next-door neighbors.
Hankison fired 10 shots at Taylor’s window and glass door after officers were shot during a drug-related search on March 13, 2020.
Some of these shots hit a neighboring apartment, but did not hit anyone.
The 12 jurors, mostly white, tried to reach a position for several days. On Thursday afternoon, they sent a note to the judge saying they were at an impasse.
Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings asked them to continue, after which they returned to deliberations.
The judge reported that during the week, “altered voices” could sometimes be heard coming from the jury room and that court security officers had to go there. But today the jurors declared that they were deadlocked on the charges against Hankison, and that they could not reach a decision, which led to Jennings declaring a mistrial.
This statement could lead to a new trial for Hankison, which will be decided by federal prosecutors.
Federal Attorney General Merrick Garland said Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was studying to be a nurse, “should be alive today” when he announced the charges in August 2022.
The charges against Hankison carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Hankison was the only officer who fired his weapon on the night of the raid who was criminally charged. Prosecutors determined that the other two officers, one of whom was shot in the leg, who fired shots had reasons for doing so.
Federal prosecutor Michael Songer said Monday during closing arguments that Hankison “was an officer of the law, but he was not above the law.”
Songer argued that Hankison could not see any target and that he knew firing blindly was wrong.
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