More than three months after her death, one of the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor has been fired.
The Louisville Metro Police Department officially announced the termination of Det. Brett Hankison via Twitter on Tuesday, posting a letter to him from the department.
In the letter, Louisville’s Chief of Police Robert J. Schroeder called Hankison’s conduct a “shock to the conscience,” noting that he violated procedure when he “wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds” into Taylor’s apartment, killing her and endangering the lives of the occupants in the apartment next door.
On March 13, Hankison and two other officers were conducting a no-knock warrant as part of a drug investigation when they burst into Taylor’s apartment and shot her eight times in her sleep.
Not only were there no drugs in the apartment, the officers had showed up to the wrong place in the wrong neighborhood. In fact, the suspect they were looking for had already been apprehended.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired back at the police, thinking they were intruders. He minimally wounded one of the officers and was subsequently charged with attempted murder. All charges were eventually dropped nearly a month later.
Meanwhile, all three of the officers involved in Taylor’s death faced zero consequences for their actions for over three months.
Now that Hankison has been fired, however, it’s clear that that is just not enough, especially since he has previously been reported for sexual assault and abuse of power on several occasions.
He should have been fired long ago.
Not to mention, Hankison can appeal his firing and potentially be rehired, as stated per his termination later.
In the last five years, 46% of police terminations in the US were reversed after being appealed, according to the Pioneer Press.
And even if the appeal process fails, many police departments across the nation have no qualms about hiring officers who have previously been fired for misconduct or more egregious crimes like murder.
For example, the officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice was hired by a police department in a small Ohio village nearly four years after his termination from the Cleveland PD.
At this point, Hankison’s firing is too little too late. Not only should all three officers be terminated, they should also be facing serious legal consequences.
Quietly firing only one of the officers involved in her death more than three months later is not justice for anyone, let alone Breonna Taylor.