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What's Next For Police Officers Involved In Breonna Taylor's Death?

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

A grand jury in Louisville has decided that none of the three police officers in the Breonna Taylor case will face charges for killing her. One detective, Brett Hankison, was charged for firing his gun into a neighboring apartment. But a question remains - what will happen to the three men at the center of the protests calling for their arrests and firings? Eleanor Klibanoff of member station WFPL on what's next.

ELEANOR KLIBANOFF, BYLINE: Former Louisville Metro Police Detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment, a lesser felony charge with a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted. He and two other officers were serving a narcotics warrant on Taylor's apartment in the middle of the night March 13. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, believed them to be intruders and shot once, striking one of the officers. They returned fire, killing Taylor. The indictment says Hankison showed a, quote, extreme indifference to human life when he fired blindly into Taylor's apartment, sending some bullets into a neighboring apartment where a couple and their child slept."

He was booked into jail last night, and after about half an hour, paid his $15,000 bond and was released. He awaits arraignment and eventually criminal prosecution. Attorneys Stew Mathews is representing Hankison.

STEW MATHEWS: I don't think anybody should have been charged, so we will be entering a not guilty plea. And we will defend the case in the courtroom.

KLIBANOFF: Hankison was fired in June. Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, the other two officers who shot at Taylor, were not charged and remain on administrative reassignment. Protesters who gathered at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville in the wake of the grand jury announcement were anguished at the lack of charges for Taylor's death. Protester Rahkyilah Jones said she still holds out hope that the city will fire Cosgrove and Mattingly.

RAHKYILAH JONES: I believe the charge should be banned from being a cop at all. Y'all shouldn't have no entitlement to be in law enforcement. And y'all supposed to be able to protect people, and y'all don't protect us. We're afraid of y'all.

KLIBANOFF: Even though officers Cosgrove and Mattingly were not charged in Taylor's death, they have not yet returned to their old jobs. An internal investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department is ongoing to see if the officers violated any departmental policies the night Taylor was killed. Mayor Greg Fischer says there is a process that must be followed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GREG FISCHER: If at the end of the investigation, if there is a fireable offense, certainly that would be the right thing to do.

KLIBANOFF: Just days before the grand jury decision came down, Sergeant Mattingly sent a department-wide email criticizing the protests and saying, the night Taylor was killed, he and the other officers did the, quote, "legal, moral and ethical thing."

For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Klibanoff in Louisville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.