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Officer fired over Breonna Taylor's death appeals termination

Louisville outlaws no-knock warrants
Louisville outlaws no-knock warrants 03:18

Former police officer Brett Hankison has appealed his firing over the death of 26-year-old emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor. In the appeal, Hankison's lawyers argue that officials bowed to public pressure and fired him before the FBI, Kentucky Attorney General's Office and the Kentucky State Police had completed their investigations.

"Brett Hankison should not be punished unless the facts show he committed wrongdoing, and the facts are not yet in," the appeal said. "This Merit Board, created to see that the hiring and firing of police officers is based on merit and just cause, and to protect against political considerations in such decisions, should not countenance what has happened." 

Taylor was killed on March 13 after officers entered her home searching for illegal drugs. Officials claim the officers announced themselves before entering and only fired in response to shots from Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But Taylor's family claims that the officers did not announce themselves and that Walker believed they were trying to break in. 

In his termination letter to Hankison, interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote that he "wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds" into Taylor's apartment, "creating a substantial danger of death and serious injury to Breonna Taylor and the three occupants of the apartment next to Ms. Taylor's."

"I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion," Schroeder added. "You have never been trained by the Louisville Metro Police Department to use deadly force in this fashion. Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department." 

The appeal took issue with that characterization, writing that there is no publicly available evidence showing that any of the shots Hankison fired hit Taylor. 

"Brett Hankison did not 'blindly' discharge his firearm, and did not lack cognizance of the direction in which he fired, but acted in quick response to gunfire directed at himself and other officers," the appeal said. 

"Why have the Chief and the Mayor created a termination document amped up with hyperbole, using terms such as 'blindly firing,' 'shock to the conscience,' and 'alarmed and stunned'?" the appeal added. "Unfortunately, the answer is that this termination is a cowardly political act." 

The three officers involved in the shooting had been placed on administrative leave before Hankison's firing. None of them have been charged, despite protesters' calls for arrests. 

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