biographical data

Brett Hankison biography: 13 things about Louisville cop involved in Breonna Taylor case


Brett Hankison is one of the three white Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. The victim was a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician for the University of Louisville Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

On March 13, 2020, Hankison and his fellow LMPD offers Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were conducting an investigation centered on Jamarcus Cordell Glover and Adrian Orlandes Walker. The three cops raided Taylor’s apartment in southwest Jefferson County while she and boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep.

Brett Hankison (©Louisville Metro Police Department)
Brett Hankison (©Louisville Metro Police Department)

Kenneth thought they were broken into so he fired his gun and shot Mattingly in the leg. In response, Hankison, Mattingly and Cosgrove blindly fired at least 22 gunshots into the building, some of which entered other apartments and Taylor, who was shot eight times, died in the hall of the apartment.

After Taylor’s death, Margo Borders accused Hankison of sexually assaulting her in her apartment while she was unconscious in April 2018. Emily Terry also accused him of assaulting her while she was intoxicated in fall 2019.

As an LMPD officer, Hankison received two letters of appreciation, one in 2003 and one in 2004, and 44 letters of commendation, including nine in 2016 and three in 2019. Here are 13 more facts about the narcotics detective from Louisville:

  1. The LMPD hired him in January 2003. He was promoted from the 6th Division to its narcotics division in June 2016. He has also served on the department’s robbery reduction task force.
  2. In April 2005, he improperly charged an individual with carrying a concealed weapon for having a shotgun in the trunk.
  3. In 2008, he was accused of receiving oral sex in exchange for not arresting a woman, an incident internal investigators with LMPD deemed unfounded. In the same year, he and other officers were accused of dragging a male teenager out of a car and beating him, an incident internal investigators with LMPD deemed unfounded.
  4. In August 2009, he failed to notify his supervisor about third-degree assault and resisting arrest charges against an individual so the appropriate photos could have been taken and failed to call for EMS when an arrested suspect swallowed cocaine.
  5. On May 25, 2012, he was named in a police brutality suit along with 20 other LMPD and Jeffersonville Police officers filed by Odell Brackens Jr. and Leon Brackens.
  6. In 2013, he identified a human trafficking victim.
  7. In 2014, he saved the life of a toddler who had severe cuts.
  8. In 2015, a woman accused him of attempting to have sex with her in exchange for not taking her to jail, an incident internal investigators with LMPD deemed unfounded.
  9. In March 2016, he arrested Ford employee and Louisville barbershop owner Kendrick Wilson for assault at the Tin Roof Bar in Louisville. The charges were dismissed in November 2016. He and Wilson had a relationship with the same woman, according to the latter. In the same bar in June 2018, he arrested Wilson outside the Tin Roof Bar claiming that his K-9 signaled the presence of a narcotic odor in the arrestee’s pocket but body camera footage showed the officer locating the plastic bag on the sidewalk several feet away from the arrestee. In October 2018, he arrested Wilson at Sullivan’s Tap House in Louisville claiming that he located a “large bag of powder cocaine” that weighed “an excess of 5 grams” on the arrestee but the charges were dropped in December 2018. In October 2019, Wilson filed a case against him accusing him of unnecessary arrests and harassment three times at bars where he worked part-time as off-duty security, which he denied in November 2019.
  10. In October 2017, he and his K-9 named Franklin received a commendation for giving a demonstration to students.
  11. In 2019, he received a commendation for assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the seizure of 25lbs of methamphetamine and approximately $105,000 and apprehension of four suspects.
  12. He was 44 years old when the LMPD fired him on June 23, 2020 for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds that “created a substantial danger of death and serious injury” to Taylor and the three occupants of the apartment next to hers when he, Mattingly and Cosgrove used a no-knock warrant to enter her apartment, LMPD chief Robert J. Schroeder explained. He was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for threatening the lives of Taylor’s neighbors but he, Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged with firing at or killing her during a grand jury proceeding on September 23, 2020, On the same day, he was booked into the Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville, Kentucky, United States at 4:30 p.m. and was released at 5:02 p.m.
  13. Represented by Stewart Mathews, he was acquitted by a jury on March 3, 2022 of all the three counts of felony wanton endangerment in the botched raid that led to Taylor’s death. On August 4, 2022, he and three others were federally charged in Taylor’s death. They appeared before Magistrate Judge Regina Edwards, who ordered them released on the condition they have no contact with other defendants or victims. Edwards ordered him to appear for further proceedings on September 14, 2022 and set a trial date of October 13, 2022.

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