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Former Louisville officer pleads not guilty to charges from night of Breonna Taylor killing

Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison on Monday pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment stemming from shots fired on the night police shot and killed Breonna Taylor. File Photo by Kyle Grillot/EPA-EFE
Former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison on Monday pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment stemming from shots fired on the night police shot and killed Breonna Taylor. File Photo by Kyle Grillot/EPA-EFE

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Brett Hankison, the former Louisville, Ky., police detective charged for shots fired on the night police killed Breonna Taylor, pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment on Monday.

Following Monday's plea, Judge Ann Bailey Smith ordered that Hankison must not possess any firearms and refused a request by his attorney, Stewart Matthews, to allow him to own weapons, citing multiple threats he said his client had received.

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Hankison is next set to appear in court on Oct. 28 for a pre-trial conference.

No Louisville Metro Police officers were charged directly for the killing of the 26-year-old Taylor while serving a "no-knock" warrant on her Louisville apartment, but a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Hankison, who had been dismissed from the force after "wantonly and blindly" firing 10 shots into Taylor's apartment and one next door.

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The felony counts are related to bullets Hankison fired through a sliding glass door and bedroom window, some of which pierced the wall of a neighboring apartment endangering three people, including a child and a pregnant woman who lived next door, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office said in a statement last week.

"There is no conclusive evidence that any bullets fired from Detective Hankison's weapon struck Ms. Taylor," the statement read.

Wanton endangerment is a Class D felony in Kentucky and if convicted, Hankison could face up to five years in prison for each count.

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The two other officers in the shooting, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted.

The grand jury decision sparked renewed protests in Kentucky and other places throughout the United States and Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family, has said Hankison and the officers should have been charged with murder.

"How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a White neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor's apartment or into Breonna's residence," said Crump.

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