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Ex-Louisville officer not guilty of endangering neighbors in Breonna Taylor raid

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

A jury in Louisville, Ky., found a former police officer involved in the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment not guilty. Two years ago, Taylor was shot and killed during the botched raid, which was part of a narcotics investigation focused on her ex-boyfriend. From member station WFPL in Louisville, Roberto Roldan reports.

ROBERTO ROLDAN, BYLINE: Former Louisville Metro Police Officer Brett Hankison watched silently as the verdicts were read. The charges against Hankison stemmed from bullets he fired through Breonna Taylor's covered patio door and windows. Three of those bullets traveled through a shared wall and into the kitchen and living room of a neighboring apartment. Prosecutors allege that Hankison fired wildly, endangering the other residents. But his attorney, Stew Matthews, argued that Hankison didn't know the layout of the building. After the verdict, Matthews told reporters outside the courtroom that he thinks justice was done.

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STEW MATTHEWS: The jury felt like, you know, you go out and perform your duty, and your brother officer gets shot, and you've got a right to defend yourself.

ROLDAN: Asked whether Hankison wants to be a police officer again, Matthews said they hadn't discussed it.

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MATTHEWS: We've taken one day at a time. And today is the start of the rest of his life, basically.

ROLDAN: Taylor's mother and sister sat in the courtroom throughout the trial. When a prosecutor said the U.S. has the best justice system in the world, Taylor's sister shook her head. They left quickly and quietly after the verdict was read. There were no protests throughout the trial, surprising many observers. Shauntrice Martin, a local Black Lives Matter organizer, says many activists were burnt out or still facing charges from the 2020 protests.

SHAUNTRICE MARTIN: Personally, I'm realizing that there are other places where we can create change because the state has already made its decision to protect the officers that killed Breonna Taylor.

ROLDAN: Martin says she thinks Hankison's trial, which wasn't even directly related to Taylor's killing, wasn't going to bring justice for her, regardless of the outcome. For NPR News, I'm Roberto Roldan in Louisville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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