(NationRise.com) – The judge who presided over the trial of police officer Brett Hankison, who was charged in the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor, declared a mistrial on November 16. The decision occurred after jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on federal civil rights charges.
The former Louisville police officer was charged with violating Taylor’s rights after using excessive force against her, her next-door neighbors, and her boyfriend. He fired 10 shots into a glass door and Taylor’s window after a shooting started during a defective drug warrant search in 2020. The bullets Hankison fired into the neighboring apartment didn’t strike anyone.
The 12-member jury wasn’t able to reach a verdict after several days of deliberations. They sent a note on November 16 to US District Judge Rebecca Jennings, where they explained they were at an “impasse.” According to different reports, she urged them to keep trying.
Jennings explained she could hear “elevated voices” coming from the jury room during the jurors’ deliberations. She added she had to declare a mistrial because the jurors told her they were “deadlocked” on both counts against the former Louisville police officer. Legal experts pointed out that while the mistrial may result in a retrial of Hankison, federal prosecutors would have to determine it at a later date.
Before the judge’s mistrial decision, federal prosecutor Michael Songer explained in court that retrying Hankison’s case would take major resources. Jennings claimed she thought the jury wouldn’t be able to reach a verdict any time soon as they were struggling with a “disagreement” they couldn’t “get past.”
Following the decision, a lawyer for Taylor’s family named Lonita Baker said that the victim’s mother, Tamika Palmer, was “disappointed” with the mistrial. However, she said she was still encouraged because it wasn’t an “acquittal,” which will allow the family to keep “fighting for justice.”
The former Louisville police officer was acquitted by a Kentucky jury in 2020. The US Department of Justice brought new charges against him in 2021.
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