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Posted under: News Social Justice

Ex-Cop Indicted For Shooting Into Home Of Breonna Taylor’s White Neighbors But Not That Of Black Family’s

Lawyers for Breonna Taylor's family noted that the charges filed against ex-detective Brett Hankison only related to the shots fired into her white neighbor's home.

Outrage has erupted across the country since Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that officers who killed Breonna Taylor on March 13 would not be held responsible for her death.

Cameron's office, however, announced that ex-detective Brett Hankison would be facing three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for shooting into a nearby apartment during the raid. 

But now that the charges against Hankison have been revealed, it has become clear that he is only being charged for firing blindly at three white people who were inside one of the apartment's struck with bullets, according to a lawyer for Taylor's family. 

The person occupying the apartment at the time, Chesey Napper, filed a lawsuit in June against the Louisville Metro Police Department, saying that one of the bullets nearly hit a man inside her apartment, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.

"A bullet that was shot from the defendant police officers' gun flew inches past Cody Etherton's head while he was in the hallway of Chelsey Napper's apartment," her lawsuit said.

Napper was pregnant at the time of the shooting and had a child at home when Hankison's bullets came into her apartment.

"I can’t make it make sense in my head. Wanton endangerment to a neighboring apartment constitutes wanton endangerment to Breonna," attorney Lonita Baker said on Facebook, according to The Louisville Courier Journal.

A lawyer for Taylor's family has since criticized the charges, saying they completely ignored the other apartments that Hankison's bullets entered. 

Attorney Sam Aguiar said the state was only charging Hankison for firing into the home of Napper who is white, and not the home of Taylor's Black neighbors who lived upstairs. 

VICE News got a hold of crime scene photos from that night showing that Hankison's bullets hit the ceiling and entered the apartment above Taylor's, where a Black family lives. 

The story notes that from the crime scene photos, it is clear that the entire apartment was sprayed with bullets and police found bullet holes in almost every wall and even the ceiling.

Aguiar says the couple upstairs is Black and noted the audacity of prosecutors to only file charges based on damage to the apartment the white family occupied.

Each charge carries up to a five-year sentence and Hankison is being held on just a $15,000 bond. 

In a statement, civil rights attorney Ben Crump slammed the charges and said they illustrated the hypocrisy and racism of Kentucky officials.

“If Hankison’s behavior constituted wanton endangerment of the people in the apartments next to hers, then it should also be considered wanton endangerment of Breonna. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder," Crump said.

"How ironic and typical that the only charges brought in this case were for shots fired into the apartment of a white neighbor, while no charges were brought for the shots fired into the Black neighbor’s apartment or into Breonna’s residence. This amounts to the most egregious disrespect of Black people, especially Black women, killed by police in America, and it’s indefensible, regardless of how Attorney General Daniel Cameron seeks to justify it," he added.

As Blavity previously reported, Hankison was fired for his actions that night, with Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder writing in his termination letter that he “wantonly and blindly fired 10 shots into the apartment of Breonna Taylor." 

"I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," Schroeder wrote in June. "I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion."

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